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\       y§     g    PROPERTY    OF    THE 





Vol.  I. 



S.   **  ' 


[James  Abram  Garfield 




DDCim  4!& 

CAirriON Please  handle  this  volume  with  care. 

The  paper  is  very  brittle. 




^MES  Abram  Garfield 




VOL.  I. 

'  . 





Copyright,  1S8S, 
By  Lucretia  R.  Garfield. 

Ai/  rights  reserved. 

Univbrsity  Prbss: 
John  Wilson  and  Son,  Cambridge. 

{ntet:  folta  frttctuK. 


FOR  several  years  President  Garfield  had  looked 
forward  to  a  time  when  he  would  be  able  to  revise 
and  publish  such  of  his  speeches  and  writings  as  he 
deemed  worthy  of  a  place  in  American  literature.  It 
was  a  purpose  that  lay  near  his  heart.  What  he  would 
have  selected  for  publication,  and  how  far  he  would  have 
carried  revision,  can  now  be  only  matters  of  speculation. 
His  untimely  death,  which  defeated  so  many  other  plans 
and  dashed  so  many  other  hopes,  prevented  the  realiza- 
tion of  this  fond  anticipation,  and,  through  the  partiality 
of  Mrs.  Garfield,  devolved  the  editorship  of  his  works 
upon  me.  An  account  of  the  manner  in  which  I.  have 
discharged  the  trust  seems  called  for. 

The  works  were  to  be  limited  to  matter  that  had  been 
published  in  its  authors  lifetime.  All  letters,  manu- 
scripts, etc.  were  reserved  for  future  use.  As  to  the  han- 
dling  of  this  material,  it  should  be  said,  first  of  all,  that  no 
editor  could  have  the  same  rights  and  powers  over  it  that 
belonged  to  him  who  produced  it.  Equally  obvious  are 
the  principles  that  should  govern  the  selection  of  mate- 
rial to  be  used.  Everything  of  real  value  that  deals  with 
questions  of  permanent  interest,  everything  that  is  a 
material  part  of  the  history  of  the  times,  and  everj^thing 

viii  PREFACE. 

that  has  a  considerable  personal  interest  flowing  from 
its  author,  as  illustrating  the  man,  should  obviously  be 
included  in  the  authorized  edition  of  his  Works.  It 
has  seemed  best  not  to  draw  upon  such  material  as 
exists  produced  before  1863,  but  to  leave  that  to  the 
biographer,  and  to  begin  these  Works  with  Mr.  Gar- 
field s  entry  into  Congress.  Accordingly  these  two  vol- 
umes are  made  up  wholly  of  matter  which,  in  some 
form,  has  already  been  given  to  the  public.  They  do 
not  by  any  means  contain  everything  that  President 
Garfield  said  and  wrote  which  has  been  published ;  but 
they  give  a  full  measure  both  of  the  quantity  and  qual- 
ity of  his  published  thought.  All  of  his  utterances  had 
life  in  them ;  but  it  is  believed  that  everything,  or  nearly 
everything,  is  here  presented,  the  value  and  interest  of 
which  entitle  it  to  admission  to  the  popular  edition  of 
his  works.  If  anything  has  been  omitted  that  should 
have  been  included,  it  is  owing  either  to  the  editors 
having  overlooked  it,  or  to  a  false  judgment  of  its  value. 

The  larger  number  of  these  speeches,  addresses,  and 
papers,  making  due  allowance  for  needed  verbal  correc- 
tions,, appear  as  they  came  from  their  authors  hand. 
From  some  of  them  portions  have  been  omitted,  since 
they  would  but  load  down  the  work.  These  portions 
may  be  divided  into  two  classes ;  namely,  passages  that 
were  of  merely  local  or  temporary  interest,  and  passages 
that  contain  what  has  been  as  well  or  better  said  in 
some  other  place.  Perhaps  some  critics  will  say  that 
the  rule  of  exclusion,  under  both  these  heads,  might  have 
been  carried  further  with  advantage.  The  following  re- 
marks will,  therefore,  be  pertinent. 

First  More  or  less  matter  has  been  retained  that  is 
not  now  and  will  never  again  be  of  immediate  practical 


utility.  If  this  is  not  true  of  whole  compositions,  it  cer- 
tainly is  of  parts  of  compositions.  Some  of  the  statis- 
tical tables,  and  the  analyses  of  national  expenditures 
found  in  the  speeches  on  Appropriations,  may  be  in- 
stanced. But  this  matter  should  obviously  be  retained  ; 
first,  because  it  is  a  part  of  the  history  of  the  times ;  and 
secondly,  because  it  is  part  of  the  history  of  President 
Garfield's  mind  and  work,  and  will  well  illustrate  his 
mental  habit  and  method  of  discussion. 

Second.  It  has  been  found  impossible  wholly  to  pre- 
vent repetition  and  overlapping.  Mr.  Garfield  was  emi- 
nently  a  didactic  statesman.  He  was  a  teacher  both  of 
the  National  Legislature  and  of  the  public.  He  discussed 
the  same  subject  in  many  different  places  and  at  many 
different  times.  He  often  discussed  the  same  subject  — 
as  Resumption  of  Specie  Payments,  and  the  Tariff — 
in  the  House  of  Representatives,  and  before  popular 
assemblies.  Naturally,  therefore,  perhaps  it  may  be 
said  necessarily,  his  speeches  and  writings  contain  fre- 
quent repetitions,  not  only  of  facts  and  arguments,  but 
also  of  diction  and  illustration.  The  widest  as  well 
as  the  most  frequent  overlapping  is  found  in  his  Con- 
gressional speeches  and  popular  addresses  on  political 
subjects  which  were  delivered  at  about  the  same  time. 
In  these  volumes,  notwithstanding  a  constant  effort  to 
reduce  repetition  to  a  minimum,  repetitions  will  still  be 
found.  Touching  these  it  may  be  said  that  they  could 
not  be  omitted  without  impairing  the  integrity  of  the 
composition,  or  weakening  the  force  of  the  related  parts 
of  the  speech  or  paper.  The  reader  will  not  however, 
weary  of  these  passages.  He  will  find  the  same  subject 
coming  up  for  discussion  again  and  again ;  but  he  will 
find   that,   even   upon    those  subjects  which   President 


Garfield  discussed  most  frequently  and  fully,  the  mat- 
ter is  almost  always  new  and  the  diction  fresh.  And 
even  when  he  finds  facts,  arguments,  or  quotations  that 
he  has  met  before,  he  will  find  them  in  new  combina- 
tions  and  answering  new  purposes. 

Some  readers  may  perhaps  say  that  the  historical 
illustration  of  the  text,  at  least  in  some  cases,  is  exces- 
sive. Such  readers  should  remember,  first,  that  the 
works  of  our  older  statesmen  have  often  suffered  from 
lack  of  such  illustration  ;  secondly,  that  the  subjects 
with  which  President  Garfield  dealt,  particularly  in  the 
early  part  of  his  public  life,  are  rapidly  receding ;  and, 
thirdly,  that  no  adequate  life  of  him  has  yet  appeared, 
or  is  likely  to  appear  for  some  time  to  come.  Con- 
cerning the  second  of  these  points,  —  the  rapidity  with 
which  events  in  our  age  pass  into  history,  —  a  few  wordis 
may  well  be  spoken.  As  long  ago  as  Februarj',  1876, 
he  himself  touched  one  phase  of  this  subject.  "  More 
than  a  million  votes,"  said  he,  "  will  be  cast  at  the  next 
Presidential  election  by  men  who  were  schoolboys  in 
their  primers  when  the  great  financial  measures  of  1862 
were  adopted  ;  and  they  do  not  realize  how  fast  or  how 
far  the  public  mind  has  drifted.  The  logbook  of  this 
extraordinary  voyage  cannot  be  read  too  often."  In 
fact,  it  is  not  extravagant  to  say  that  there  are  hun- 
dreds of  thousands  of  young  Americans  to-day  who 
know  no  more  of  the  events  of  1862  than  they  do  of 
the  events  of  1776,  if  indeed  they  know  so  much.  If 
the  historical  commentary  is  too  full  for  some  readers, 
it  is  not  for  others ;  and  for  none  will  it  be  too  full  in 
the  next  generation. 

Much  labor  has  been  bestowed  upon  the  quotations, 
both  to  verify  them,  and  to  give  the  appropriate  refer- 


ences.  Occasionally  the  matter  quoted  was  ephemeral, 
and  search  for  the  original  was  profitless ;  but  in  all  other 
cases  no  reasonable  effort  has  been  spared  to  track 
the  quotation  to  its  source.  When  it  is  considered  that 
the  author's  literary  habits  were  rather  those  of  a  public 
man  than  of  a  man  of  letters,  and  when  it  is  remem- 
bered that  his  speeches  were  often  prepared  and  deliv- 
ered under  great  stress  both  of  time  and  labor,  it  will 
not  appear  strange  that  in  many  cases  he  has  left  no 
references  to  the  originals  he  has  quoted,  and  that  they 
cannot  readily  be  found. 

The  question  of  arrangement  has  been  carefully  con- 
sidered. This  question  was.  Shall  the  topical  or  the 
chronological  method  be  followed.'^  Each  course  had 
great  and  obvious  advantages.  Finally,  however,  the 
chronological  order,  with  departures  few  and  slight,  was 
adopted,  as  doing  best  justice  both  to  the  history  of 
the  author's  mind  and  to  the  history  of  the  country. 
Those  who  wish  to  study  his  utterances  upon  special 
subjects  in  group  can,  with  the  aid  of  the  Contents  and 
the  Index,  readily  group  them  for  themselves. 

The  pamphlet  editions  of  speeches  and  addresses 
have  been  followed  in  all  cases,  where  such  editions 
exist,  to  the  exclusion  of  the  reports  found  in  news- 
papers, and  in  the  Congressional  Globe  and  Record. 

The  thanks  of  both  Mrs.  Garfield  and  the  editor  are 
tendered  to  Messrs.  Houghton,  Mifflin,  &  Co.,  publishers 
of  the  Atlantic  Monthly,  to  Mr.  A.  T.  Rice,  publisher 
of  the  North  American  Review,  and  to  A.  J.  Johnson 
&  Co.,  publishers  of  Johnson  s  New  Universal  Cyclo- 
paedia, for  their  permission,  so  courteously  granted,  to 
include  in  these  works  the  articles  credited  to  their 
respective  publications. 

xii  PREFACE. 

It  has  been  stated,  or  at  least  implied,  above,  that 
everything  heretofore  published  that  has  real  value  has 
been  included  in  these  Works.  One  exception  should  be 
made.  There  is  a  series  of  Minor  Speeches,  eminently 
characteristic  of  their  author,  most  of  them  delivered 
between  his  nomination  by  the  Chicago  Convention  and 
his  inauguration  as  President,  which  are  well  worthy  of 
collection  and  publication,  but  which  can  hardly  be  ad- 
mitted, with  propriety,  to  his  Works.  These  have  been 
carefully  prepared  for  publication  by  Col.  A.  F.  Rock- 
well, of  the  United  States  army,  and  they  will  shortly 
appear  in  a  worthy  form,  from  the  press  of  the  Century 

The  preceding  explanation  made,  I  now  ask  leave  to 
transcribe  some  words  of  characterization  spoken  by  the 
Hon.  James  G.  Blaine  before  the  House  of  Representa- 
tives and  the  Senate,  in  the  hall  of  the  House,  Febru- 
ary 27,  1882,  and  then  to  add  some  remarks  of  my  own. 

**  As  a  parliamentary  orator,  as  a  debater  on  an  issue  squarely 
joined,  where  the  position  had  been  chosen  and  the  ground  laid 
out,  Garfield  must  be  assigned  a  very  high  rank.  More,  per- 
haps, than  any  man  with  whom  he  was  associated  in  public  life, 
he  gave  careful  and  systematic  study  to  public  questions,  and 
he  came  to  every  discussion  in  which  he  took  part  with  elabo- 
rate and  complete  preparation.  He  was  a  steady  and  indefati- 
gable worker.  Those  who  imagine  that  talent  or  genius  can 
supply  the  place  or  achieve  the  results  of  labor  will  find  no  en- 
couragement in  Garfield's  life.  In  preliminary  work  he  was  apt, 
rapid,  and  skilful.  He  possessed  in  a  high  degree  the  power 
of  readily  absorbing  ideas  and  facts,  and,  like  Dr.  Johnson,  had 
the  art  of  getting  from  a  book  all  that  was  of  value  in  it  by  a 
reading  apparently  so  quick  and  cursory  that  it  seemed  like  a 
mere  glance  at  the  table  of  contents.  He  was  a  pre-eminently 
fair  and  candid  man  in  debate,  took  no  petty  advantage,  stooped 
to  no  unworthy  methods,  avoided  personal  allusions,  rarely  ap- 
pealed to  prejudice,  did  not  seek  to  inflame  passion.     He  had 

PREFACE.  xiii 

a  quicker  eye  for  the  strong  point  of  his  adversary  than  for  his 
weak  point,  and  on  his  own  side  he  so  marshalled  his  weighty 
arguments  as  to  make  his  hearers  forget  any  possible  lack  in 
the  complete  strength  of  his  position.  He  had  a  habit  of  stating 
his  opponent's  side  with  such  amplitude  of  fairness  and  such 
liberality  of  concession,  that  his  followers  often  complained  that 
he  was  giving  his  case  away.  But  never  in  his  prolonged  par- 
ticipation in  the  proceedings  of  the  House  did  he  give  his  case 
away,  or  fail,  in  the  judgment  of  competent  and  impartial  listen- 
ers, to  gain  the  mastery 

"  Those  unfamiliar  with  Garfield's  industry,  and  ignorant  of 
the  details  of  his  work,  may,  in  some  degree,  measure  them  by 
the  annals  of  Congress.  No  one  of  the  generation  of  public 
men  to  which  he  belonged  has  contributed  so  much  that  will 
be  valuable  for  future  reference.  His  speeches  are  numerous, 
many  of  them  brilliant,  all  of  them  well  studied,  carefully 
phrased,  and  exhaustive  of  the  subject  under  consideration. 
Collected  from  the  scattered  pages  of  ninety  royal  octavo  vol- 
umes of  Congressional  Records,  they  would  present  an  invalu- 
able compendium  of  the  political  history  of  the  most  important 
era  through  which  the  national  government  has  ever  passed. 
When  the  history  of  this  period  shall  be  impartially  written, 
when  war  legislation,  measures  of  reconstruction,  protection  of 
human  rights,  amendments  to  the  Constitution,  maintenance  of 
public  credit,  steps  towards  specie  resumption,  true  theories 
of  revenue,  may  be  reviewed,  unsurrounded  by  prejudice  and 
disconnected  from  partisanism,  the  speeches  of  Garfield  will  be 
estimated  at  their  true  value,  and  will  be  found  to  comprise 
a  vast  magazine  of  fact  and  argument,  of  clear  analysis  and 
sound  conclusion.  Indeed,  if  no  other  authority  were  accessi- 
ble, his  speeches  in  the  House  of  Representatives  from  Decem- 
ber, 1863,  to  June,  1880,  would  give  a  well-connected  history 
and  complete  defence  of  the  important  legislation  of  the  sev- 
enteen eventful  years  that  constitute  his  parliamentary  life. 
Far  beyond  that,  his  speeches  would  be  found  to  forecast  many 
great  measures  yet  to  be  completed,  —  measures  which  he 
knew  were  beyond  the  public  opinion  of  the  hour,  but  which 
he  confidently  believed  would  secure  popular  approval  within 
the  period  of  his  own  lifetime,  and  by  the  aid  of  his  own 
efforts."  1 

*  Eulogy  on  James  Abram  Garfield,  (Boston,  James  R.  Osgood  &  Co.,)  pp. 
28-30,  and  35-37. 

xiv  PREFACE. 

President  Garfield's  national  political  life  began  with 
his  entry  into  the  House  of  Representatives,  Decern- 
ber  7,  1863,  when  he  was  thirty-two  years  old.  It  will 
heighten  one's  appreciation  of  these  volumes,  and  give 
weight  to  the  words  of  Mr.  Blaine  just  quoted,  to  take  a 
view  of  his  mental  equipment  for  a  legislator,  and  of 
some  of  the  larger  conditions  under  which  these  Works 
were  produced. 

He  graduated  at  the  age  of  twenty-five,  with  so  much  . 
of  general  training  and  culture,  and  more  of  general 
reading,  than  was  implied  by  a  first  honor  in  a  Massa- 
chusetts college  in  1856.  He  continued  a  constant  and 
general  reader  to  the  end  of  his  life.  From  1856  to 
1 86 1  he  was  a  laborious  teacher  in  an  academical  school. 
His  experience  there  —  not  now  referring  to  the  admin- 
istrative but  to  the  strictly  didactic  function  —  was  of 
great  value  to  him  in  his  public  life.  His  admirable 
power  of  rhetorical  exposition,  both  as  a  forensic  and  as 
a  popular  orator,  in  so  far  as  it  was  the  result  of  art,  is 
largely  traceable  to  his  teacher  experience.  During  the 
same  years  he  was  in  constant  practice  as  a  public 
speaker  on  a  great  variety  of  subjects,  —  education,  sci- 
ence, literature,  politics,  and  religion,  —  and  this  practice 
was  of  equal  service.  He  read  law  with  a  fellow-teacher 
at  Hiram,  and  was  admitted  to  the  Ohio  bar  in  1861. 
In  i860  and  1861  he  served  a  term  in  the  Ohio  Senate, 
and,  although  the  youngest,  he  was  one  of  the  most 
active  and  influential  members  on  the  floor.  One  or 
two  short  speeches  made  in  the  Senate,  which  have  been 
preserved,  and  a  larger  number  of  committee  reports 
written  by  him,  show  that  the  Ohio  Senator  needed  but 
growth  and  maturity  to  become  the  national  Represent- 
ative.   In  the  college  literary  society  he  had  given  much 


attention  to  parliamentary  law ;  he  improved  the  oppor- 
tunity that  the  Senate  gave  to  add  to  his  knowledge, 
both  theoretical  and  practical ;  so  that  he  entered  the 
House  of  Representatives  a  good  general  parliamen- 

Edward  Gibbon,  while  bemoaning  his  service  in  the 
Hampshire  militia,  said  it  was  of  much  service  to  him 
in  composing  his  History  of  the  Decline  and  Fall  of  the 
Roman  Empire.^  Much  more  was  President  Garfield's 
service  as  a  soldier  of  value  to  him  as  a  legislator  and 
statesman.  It  made  him  thoroughly  acquainted  with 
the  organization  and  needs  of  the  army,  and  with  the 
whole  military  side  of  the  Rebellion.  It  caused  him  to 
reflect  the  more  deeply  upon  its  political  side,  and  to 
revolve  more  carefully  in  his  mind  the  whole  question  of 
reconstruction.  More  than  this,  his  military  service 
added  very  greatly  to  his  knowledge  of  men  and  of  pub- 
lic business,  and  thereby  much  increased  his  mental  and 
moral  equipment  for  his  civil  career.  Collateral  ques- 
tions growing  out  of  the  war  also  engaged  his  attention 
somewhat :  thus,  in  his  paper  entitled  "  The  Currency 
Conflict,"  he  speaks  of  studying  finance  with  Secretary 
Chase  in  the  autumn  of  1862  (while  he  was  in  Washing- 
ton awaiting  orders,  and  serving  on  a  court-martial). 

The  only  specific  political  question  of  the  first  magni- 
tude  that  he  had  mastered  before  the  war  mutterines 
were  heard,  had  become  obsolete  when  he  entered 
Congress.  "  Slavery  in  the  Territories  "  was  the  great 
question  that  the   Republican   party  pressed  upon   the 

1  "  The  discipline  and  evolutions  of  a  modern  battalion  gave  me  a  clearer  notion 
of  the  phalanx  and  the  legion  ;  and  the  captain  of  the  Hampshire  Grenadiers  (the 
reader  may  smile)  has  not  been  useless  to  the  historian  of  the  Roman  Empire/'  — 
Memoirs^  etc. 

xvi  PREFACE. 

intellect  and  the  conscience  of  the  nation,  from  its  organ- 
ization in  1854  to  its  triumph  in  the  Presidential  election, 
of  i860.  "What  is  the  constitutional  authority  of  Con- 
gress over  the  domestic  institutions  of  a  Territory?"  was 
a  question  to  be  answered  partly  in  view  of  the  nature 
and  scope  of  the  national  Constitution,  and  partly  in  view 
of  the  legislative  precedents  from  1787  onwards.  This 
was  an  interesting  and  vivifying  line  of  study  and  dis- 
cussion. Parallel  with  it  ran  the  slavery  question  as  a 
whole ;  for,  although  the  Republican  party  denied  to 
themselves  any  right  or  purpose  to  interfere  with  slavery 
in  the  States,  Republican  orators  and  writers  did  not  con- 
fine themselves,  in  discussion,  to  "  Slavery  in  the  Territo- 
ries,*' but  dwelt  also  upon  the  economical,  political,  and 
moral  features  of  slavery  itself.  Before  the  year  i860, 
although  following  other  pursuits  than  politics,  Mr.  Gar- 
field had  possessed  himself  of  all  the  points  in  that  line 
of  discussion, — the  Ordinance  of  1787,  the  Missouri  Com- 
promise of  1820,  the  Wilmot  Proviso  of  1846,  the  Kansas- 
Nebraska  Act  of  1854,  the  Dred  Scott  Decision  of  1857, 
"  Squatter  Sovereignty,"  together  with  the  points  of  infe- 
rior interest.  He  was  a  full  master  of  the  Republican 
argument,  and  had  stated  it  many  times  over  with  much 
power  and  eloquence.  The  Republican  party  applied 
its  cherished  principle  to  the  Territories  in  the  act  of 
June  19,  1862,  and  then  only  slavery  in  the  States  re- 
mained to  be  dealt  with. 

Republican  opposition  to  slavery  before  i860,  as  an- 
nounced in  platforms,  was  an  assertion  of  the  right  and 
duty  of  Congress  to  prohibit  its  spread.  This  assertion 
the  Democratic  party  opposed,  at  first  on  old-fashioned 
State  Rights  grounds ;  but  afterwards  the  party  divided 
into  those  who  asserted  that  the  Constitution  of  its  own 

PREFACE.  xvii 

force  carried  slavery  into  the  Territories,  that  Congress 
had  nothing  to  do  with  it,  and  that  the  people  .of  the 
Territory  even  could  not  prohibit  it  until  they  came  to 
form  a  State  government,  and  those  who  asserted  that 
the  whole  question  was  left  to  the  people  of  the  Terri- 
tory, and  that  they  could  prohibit  it  either  by  a  law  of 
their  local  legislature  or  in  the  constitution  of  their 
State  government  (which  was  the  "  Squatter  Sovereign- 
ty "  doctrine  of  Mr.  Douglas).  The  contest  was,  there- 
fore, a  revival,  in  a  new  form,  of  the  old  contest  of  na- 
tional and  local  powers.  Many  Republicans  of  that  day 
had  been  brought  up  in  the  Democratic  party,  but  the 
original  and  the  only  original  Republican  doctrine  readily 
assimilated  with  what  are  called  "  national  views  "  of  the 
Federal  government.  As  a  matter  of  course  the  war 
gave  the  party  a  strong  impulse  in  the  same  direction. 
How  different  the  spirit  and  the  course  of  the  party 
would  have  been  had  there  been  no  war,  is  a  curious 
subject  of  speculation.  Here  it  suffices  to  say  that  Mr. 
Garfield's  political  training  up  to  1861,  as  well  as  the 
native  cast  of  his  mind,  gave  him  a  predisposition  in 
favor  of  Nationalism,  and  this  predisposition  the  Rebel- 
lion greatly  strengthened. 

The  Southern  threat  of  Secession,  which  so  long  hung 
over  the  country,  was  not  seriously  regarded  by  Repub- 
licans until  the  winter  of  1860-61.  They  did  not  believe 
there  was  going  to  be  a  war  until  war  began;  and  then 
their  most  philosophical  statesman,  Mr.  Seward,  said  it 
would  be  over  in  ninety  days.  But  just  so  soon  as  the 
Southern  demonstrations  following  the  election  of  Pres- 
ident Lincoln  began  to  impress  the  North,  —  and  still 
more  as  time  wore  on  and  words  gave  way  to  blows,  — 
the  whole  Northern  people,  and  especially  Republicans, 

VOL.  I.  b 

xviii  PREFACE. 

fell  to  studying  the  origin,  history,  and  nature  of  our 
national  institutions,  just  as  the  American  Colonists 
on  the  verge  of  the  Revolution,  according  to  Edmund 
Burke,  fell  to  reading  Blackstone's  Commentaries  and 
other  books  of  law.^  "  How  did  the  Union  originate?" 
"  What  is  the  history  of  the  Constitution  ?  "  "  What  is 
the  nature  of  the  Federal  bond  ?  "  at  once  became  com- 
mon questions  of  absorbing  interest.  It  was  not  suffi- 
cient to  oppose  physical  resistance  to  Secession  ;  it  must 
be  shown  that  Secession  had  no  support  in  either  con- 
stitutional or  natural  law.  Now  all  patriotic  men  began 
to  cast  about  for  the  real  elements  of  strength  in  the 
National  Constitution,  and  for  the  lessons  for  the  hour 
which  real  statesmen  had  taught.  Mr.  Garfield  shared 
in  this  impulse  to  the  full,  and  was  at  once  led  into 
the  middle  of  a  field  of  political  reading  and  thought 
which  before  he  had  barely  touched. 

For  more  than  a  half-century  the  country  had  been 
moving  steadily  in  one  direction.  Lord  Macaulay  wrote 
to  an  American  in  1857,  "There  can,  I  apprehend,  be  no 
doubt  that  your  institutions  have,  during  the  whole  of 
the  nineteenth  century,  been  constantly  becoming  more 
Jeffersonian  and  less  Washingtonian."^  "It  is  surely 
strange,"  he  added,  "that,  while  this  process  has  been 
going  on,  Washington  should  have  been  exalted  into  a 
god,  and  Jefferson  degraded  into  a  demon."  The  Eng- 
lish  lord  seems  to  have  understood  that  Jefferson  was 

^  "  I  have  been  told  by  an  eminent  bookseller,  that  in  no  branch  of  his  business, 
after  tracts  of  popular  devotion,  were  so  many  books  as  those  on  the  law  exported 
to  the  Plantations.  The  Colonists  have  now  fallen  into  the  way  of  printing  them 
for  their  own  use.  I  hear  that  they  have  sold  nearly  as  many  of  Blackstone's  Com- 
mentaries in  America  as  in  England."  —  Speech  on  Conciliation  with  America, 
March  22,  1775. 

^  Letter  to  H.  S.  Randall,  Esq.,  dated  Holly  Lodge,  Kensington,  January  18, 
1857.  See  Appendix  to  Harper's  edition  of  Trevelyan's  "  Life  and  Letters  of  Lord 

PREFACE.  xix 

the  foil  to  Washington.  Indeed,  he  says  his  Ameri- 
can  correspondent  intimated  as  much  to  him.  But  an 
intelligent  American  need  not  be  told  that  Jefferson 
was  rather  the  foil  to  Alexander  Hamilton.  Jefferson 
believed  in  democracy  and  in  a  confederation;  Hamil- 
ton favored  class  influence  and  representation,  but  be- 
yond any  man  of  his  time  grasped  and  set  forth  the 
idea  of  Nationalism.  It  was  in  the  very  beginning  of 
the  war  that  the  people  of  the  North,  as  never  before, 
came  to  appreciate  the  fact  stated  by  Guizot :  "  Ham- 
ilton must  be  classed  among  the  men  who  have  best 
known  the  vital  principles  and  fundamental  conditions  of 

a  government There  is  not  in  the  Constitution 

of  the  United  States  an  element  of  order,  of  force,  of 
duration,  which  he  has  not  powerfully  contributed  to 
introduce  into  it,  and  to  cause  to  predominate."  In  the 
year  1880,  Mr.  Garfield  thus  spoke  of  Hamilton  :  — 

"  I  cannot  look  upon  this  great  assemblage,  and  these  old 
veterans  that  have  marched  past  us,  and  listen  to  the  words 
of  welcome  from  our  comrade  who  has  just  spoken,  without 
remembering  how  great  a  thing  it  is  to  live  in  this  Union  and 
be  a  part  of  it.  This  is  New  York ;  and  yonder  toward  the 
Battery,  more  than  a  hundred  years  ago,  a  young  student  of 
Columbia  College  was  arguing  the  ideas  of  the  American  Revo- 
lution and  American  Union  against  the  un-American  loyalty  to 
monarchy  of  his  college  president  and  professors.  By  and  by 
he  went  into  the  patriot  army,  was  placed  on  the  staff  of  Wash- 
ington, to  fight  the  battles  of  his  country,  and  while  in  camp, 
before  he  was  twenty-one  years  old,  upon  a  drum-head  he  wrote 
a  letter  which  contained  every  germ  of  the  Constitution  of  the 
United  States.  That  student,  soldier,  statesman,  and  great 
leader  of  thought,  Alexander  Hamilton,  of  New  York,  made 
this  Republic  glorious  by  his  thinking,  and  left  his  lasting  im- 
press upon  this  the  foremost  State  of  the  Union.  And  here  on 
this  island,  the  scene  of  his  early  triumphs,  we  gather  to-night, 
soldiers  of  the  new  war,  representing  the  same  ideas  of  union, 


having  added  strength  and  glory  to  the  monument  reared  by 
the  heroes  of  the  Revolution."  * 

Mr.  Henry  Cabot  Lodge  says  the  ideas  which  JefiFerson 
and  Hamilton  embodied  have,  in  their  conflicts,  made 
up  the  history  of  the  United  States.  The  democratic 
principles  of  the  one  and  the  national  principles  of  the 
other  have  prevailed,  and  have  sway  to-day  throughout 
the  length  and  breadth  of  the  land.  "  But  if  we  go  a 
step  further,"  he  says,  "  we  find  that  the  great  Federalist 
has  the  advantage.  The  democratic  system  of  Jefferson 
is  administered  in  the  form  and  on  the  principles  of 
Hamilton."  ^  This  is  propounded  as  the  point  towards 
which  American  political  thought  tends,  —  Democracy 
and  Nationalism.  The  expression  well  describes  Mr. 
Garfield's  own  h^bit  of  political  thought.  He  had  no 
sympathy  with  Hamilton's  aristocratical  principles;  he 
was  as  pure  a  democrat  as  JefiFerson  himself;  but  he 
wanted  the  democratic  system  administered  in  the  form 
and  on  the  principles  of  Nationalism.  The  thoughts  of 
Hamilton  had  great  influence  upon  his  mind  and  work. 
His  eye  never  wandered  from  the  pole-star  of  nationality. 
He  loved  Ohio,  but  he  loved  the  Union  more.  As  he 
put  it,  he  rendered  allegiance  to  Washington,  not  by  the 
way  of  Columbus,  but  in  an  air  line.  His  country,  its 
union,  its  greatness,  its  purity,  its  honor,  its  flag,  was 
with  him  an  absorbing  passion,  —  as  much  so  as  with 
Hamilton  himself.  Hence  it  is  pertinent  to  add  that  he 
had  a  sort  of  literary  acquaintance  with  this  great  states- 
man before  the  war  began ;  but  his  real  recognition  of 
his  greatness,  and  of  the  strength  of  his  political  doc- 
trines, dated  from  certain  studies  in  the  first  half  of  the 

*  Speech  to  the  "  Boys  in  Blue/'  delivered  in  New  York,  August  6, 1880. 
>  Alexander  Hamilton,  p.  283  (Boston,  1882). 

PREFACE.  xxi 

year  1861.  Accordingly,  he  entered  Congress,  and  be- 
fore that  the  army,  not  simply  an  ardent  patriot,  but  a 
student  of  history  and  politics,  rooted  and  grounded  in 
those  elements  of  order,  of  force,  and  of  duration  which, 
according  to  the  distinguished  Guizot,  Hamilton  con- 
tributed so  powerfully  to  introduce  into  the  Constitution, 
and  to  cause  to  predominate. 

From  the  foregoing  summary  it  is  easy  to  see  what 
was  Mr.  Garfield's  mental  equipment  for  a  legislator. 
The  first  and  most  valuable  part  of  it  was  general,  — 
his  native  ability,  his  general  education,  his  mental 
habits,  the  training  that  he  had  received  in  educa- 
tion, war,  and  politics,  and  his  general  views  of  our 
American  governments.  National  and  State,  though 
these  views,  as  a  matter  of  course,  he  had  not  carried 
out  and  applied  to  many  specific  questions.  More  nar- 
rowly, he  had  mastered  the  Slavery  question,  upon 
which,  beyond  supporting  the  Thirteenth  Amendment, 
he  was  never  called  to  legislate ;  he  had  a  full  grasp  of 
both  the  military  and  political  sides  of  the  Rebellion, 
and  had  partially  thought  out  some  of  the  other  ques- 
tions that  were  so  closely  connected  with  the  war.  This 
is  about  all.  At  this  day  there  is  nothing  risked  in  say- 
ing that  the  late  President  s  most  valuable  public  service 
was  in  the  field  of  economical  discussion  and  legislation : 
Currency,  the  Banks,  Taxation,  Appropriations,  Resump- 
tion, and  related  topics.  The  greatness  and  value  of  this 
service  is  now  largely  recognized  by  the  public;  but  it 
will  be  surprising  if  the  publication  of  these  Works 
does  not  greatly  strengthen  that  recognition.  Nor  is 
there  anything  risked  in  saying  that,  when  he  entered 
Congress,  he  had  given  no  systematic  study  to  any  of 
these  subjects.      His  grasp  of  economical  science  was 

xxii  PREFACE. 

then  little  more  than  it  was  when  he  left  college,  al- 
though his  general  reading  had  given  him  a  wider  range 
of  knowledge.  The  great  knowledge  of  these  subjects, 
the  sound  conclusions,  the  just  principles,  of  which  these 
volumes  are  such  striking  evidences,  were  gathered  and 
wrought  out  after  his  Congressional  life  began.  The 
same  may  be  said  of  nearly  all  the  subjects  that  are  here 
discussed.  That  he  not  only  was  able  to  master  these 
great  and  difficult  financial  questions,  but  was  always 
able  to  defend  sound  principles  with  new  arguments, 
fresh  information,  and  original  illustrations,  at  the  same 
time  that  he  was  dealing  with  the  other  questions,  both 
many  and  difficult,  of  those  eventful  years,  as  well  as 
maintaining  a  lively  interest  in  all  public  questions  and 
bearing  a  part  in  the  discussion  of  many  of  them,  is 
at  once  a  striking  proof  of  the  greatness  of  his  powers, 
of  the  thoroughness  of  his  training,  and  of  the  zeal  and 
conscientiousness  with  which  he  devoted  himself  to  his 
legislative  duties. 

With  the  mental  equipment  now  described,  Mr.  Gar- 
field entered  the  national  House  of  Representatives. 
He  at  once  took  an  active  part  in  the  debates,  as  the 
Index  of  the  Congressional  Globe  for  the  first  session  of 
the  Thirty-eighth  Congress  shows.  The  four  speeches 
whose  titles  are  found  at  the  head  of  the  Contents  of 
this  first  volume  were  made  that  session.  This  activity 
was  kept  up,  with  some  fluctuation  of  course,  through 
the  twenty-two  sessions  that  he  sat  in  Congress.  It  will 
be  observed  that,  with  a  few  exceptions,  they  are  his 
major  Congressional  speeches  that  are  presented  in 
these  Works.  Only  a  few  of  the  far  greater  number 
of  minor  speeches  have  been  drawn  out  of  the  Globe  and 
Record ;  and  these  have  been  given  because  they  deal 

PREFACE.  xxiii 

with  important  subjects,  and  because  they  show  the 
speaker's  powers  in  such  efforts.  Of  their  kind,  these 
minor  speeches  are  as  perfect  as  the  greater  and  better- 
known  speeches  upon  which  his  reputation  as  a  debater 
rests.  Nor  must  it  be  supposed  that  in  Congress  he  was 
simply  a  speech-maker;  he  was  always  a  conscientious 
and  laborious  committeeman.  Then  the  reader  must 
remember  that  every  year,  from  1864  to  1879,  with  the 
single  exception  of  1867  when  he  was  in  Europe,  he 
took  an  active  part  in  each  political  canvass ;  his  ser- 
vices were  in  wide  request  in  Ohio  and  in  other  States, 
and  he  sometimes  made  as  many  as  sixty  or  seventy 
addresses  in  a  single  campaign.  For  a  number  of  years 
he  began  his  annual  canvass  with  a  carefully  prepared 
speech,  which  was  commonly  printed  from  his  own  man- 
uscript. This  was  of  the  nature  of  a  report  to  his  con- 
stituents, or  to  the  people  of  Ohio,  of  the  political  history 
of  the  year,  and  especially  of  legislation.  The  campaign 
addresses  from  1866  to  1872  inclusive  constitute  this 
series.  By  the  side  of  these  lines  of  activity  must  be 
mentioned  his  not  inconsiderable  law  practice.  In  all, 
his  cases  in  the  United  States  courts  were  some  thirty  in 
number,  many  of  them  involving  new  and  difficult  ques- 
tions, which  demanded  much  time  and  study  for  their 
mastery.  The  three  legal  arguments  that  were  fully  re- 
ported have  a  place  in  these  volumes.  With  all  the 
rest,  he  was  a  generous  respondent  to  calls  to  literary, 
ceremonial,  and  commemorative  occasions,  and  a  not 
unfrequent  contributor  to  the  press.  Still,  the  occa- 
sional addresses  and  papers  that  are  here  brought  to- 
gether were  the  intellectual  recreations  of  a  man  whose 
work  lay  in  other  fields. 
The  foregoing  remarks  have  not  been  made  simply  to 

xxiv  PREFACE. 

generalize  the  labor  that  produced  these  works,  and  to 
enlarge  the  reader's  view  of  this  busy  man  and  life.  It 
is  hoped  that,  so  far  as  they  go,  they  will  set  President 
Garfield  boldly  and  clearly  before  the  eye  of  the  reader. 
Besides,  they  have  an  obvious  bearing  upon  the  works 
themselves.  The  reader  must  remember  the  magnitude 
of  the  labor  that  President  Garfield  performed,  and  the 
conditions  under  which  he  performed  it.  These  com- 
positions are  not  the  essays  of  a  scholar,  working  at  his 
leisure  in  his  library ;  they  are,  with  few  exceptions,  the 
contributions  to  current  discussion  of  a  very  busy  man, 
who  spoke  on  living  questions  because  he  had  some- 
thing to  say.  He  had  extraordinary  power  in  the  organ- 
ization of  thought,  shown  both  in  the  excellence  and 
rapidity  of  his  execution ;  but  many  of  these  speeches 
were  made  under  circumstances  that  taxed  his  power 
to  the  utmost.  He  was  a  hard  reader,  had  a  retentive 
memory,  and  was  careful  to  keep  his  knowledge  within 
reach ;  but,  as  a  matter  of  course,  he  often  had  to  use 
new  information  that  was  hastily  gathered,  or  old  infor- 
mation that  needed  further  verification. 

Mr.  A.  R.  Spofford,  the  accomplished  head  of  the  Li- 
brary of  Congress,  who  well  knew  Garfield's  mental  hab- 
its, has  said,  in  an  admirable  paper  on  his  intellectual 
character  and  methods :  "  He  was  never  chary  of  asking 
assistance  in  laying  out  the  materials  for  any  work  he 
had  to  do.  He  made  no  mystery  of  what  he  was  about ; 
concealed  nothing  of  his  purposes  or  methpds;  drew 
freely  upon  his  friends  for  suggestions ;  used  his  family, 
secretaries,  and  librarians  to  look  up  authorities,  or,  if 
he  found  the  time,  he  looked  them  up  himself.  When 
he  had  examined  the  field  as  thoroughly  as  he  was 
able,  he   organized   his  subject  in   his  own   mind,  and, 


if  the  speech  was  to  be  in  Congress,  he  seldom  wrote 
more  than  a  few  of  its  leading  outlines,  leaving  the  sub- 
stance, as  well  as  the  diction,  to  the  occasion."  This  is 
very  true  and  just.  Mr.  Spofford  also  says :  "  He  was 
ever  most  solicitous  to  verify  every  fact  and  quotation, 
and,  after  speaking  ex  tempore,  he  was  anxious  until  he 
had  carefully  corrected  the  proofs."  ^  This,  too,  is  true 
and  just ;  he  was  a  conscientious  man  in  all  that  he  un- 
dertook. But  the  pressure  of  work  or  the  shortness  of 
time  for  preparation  often  made  the  verification  of  the 
fact  impossible;  he  frequently  had  to  correct  the  proofs 
in  extreme  haste,  perhaps  at  midnight  when  worn  out, 
and  sometimes  he  could  not  correct  them  at  all.  A 
considerable  part  of  the  matter  collected  in  these  vol- 
umes never  had  any  real  revision  from  its  author.  I 
have  indeed,  verified  many  of  the  facts,  dates,  statistics, 
etc.,  as  well  as  revised  the  diction  when  revision  seemed 
essential ;  but  I  fear  that  my  work  will  be  found  a  poor 
substitute  for  the  scholarship,  care,  and  skill  that  the 
author  would  have  brought  to  the  task  had  he  lived  to 
be  his  own  editor. 

The  preparation  of  these  Works  for  publication  was 
intrusted   to   me  by   Mrs.   Garfield.      I    have   earnestly 

sought  to  justify  her  confidence.  It  has  been  a  labor 
of  love ;  and  no  effort  has  been  spared,  no  toil  shrunk 

from,  that  seemed  necessary  to  its  fit  accomplishment. 

I  do  not  doubt  that  defects  and  blemishes  in  my  work 

will  be  discovered ;   but  if  the  American    people  shall 

think  that  upon   the  whole  it  is    not  unworthy  of  the 

text,  I  will  be  content.     Nothing  more  need  be  said  by 

way  of  explaining  these  Works,  or  the  manner  of  their 

*  •*  A  Tribute  of  Respect  from  the  Literary  Society  of  Washington  to  its  late 
President,  James  Abram  Garfield,'*  pp.  i6,  17,  26. 


preparation  for  publication.  I  am  not  called  upon  to 
discuss  President  Garfield,  or  even  to  characterize  him 
as  thinker,  orator,  writer,  or  statesman.  Now  that  I 
have  put  these  speeches,  addresses,  arguments,  and  pa- 
pers in  the  best  form  that  .1  could,  and  accompanied 
them  with  such  historical  commentary  as  seemed  to  me 
called  for,  I  submit  the  whole  to  that  public  upon  which 
the  distinguished  and  lamented  author  so  deeply  im- 
pressed himself. 


Hiram  College,  Hiram,  Ohio, 
September  i,  1882. 



Confiscation  of  the  Property  of  Rebels i 

Speech  delivered  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  January  28,  1864. 

Enrolling  and  Calling  out  the  National  Forces    ....      19 

Speech  delivered  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  June  25,  1864. 

The  Sale  of  Surplus  Gold 35 

Remarks  made  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  February  18  and  March 
15,  1864. 

Free  Commerce  between  the  States 42 

Speech  delivered  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  March  24  and  31, 1864. 

1^   Cabinet  Officers  in  Congress 61 

Speech  delivered  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  January  26,  1865. 

The  Constitutional  Amendment  abolishing  Slavery     ...      73 

Speech  delivered  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  January  13,  1865. 

Suffrage  and  Safety 85 

Oration  delivered  at  Ravenna,  Ohio,  July  4,  1865. 

Restoration  of  the  Southern  States 95 

Speech  delivered  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  February  i,  1866. 

American  Shipping 118 

Remarks  made  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  February  i,  1866,  and 
May  25,  1870. 

The  National  Bureau  of  Education 126 

Speech  delivered  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  June  8,  1866. 


The  Jurisdiction  of  Military  Commissions 143 

Argument  made  before  the  Supreme  Court  of  the  United  States  in  Ex 
parte  L.  P.  Milligan,  W.  A.  Bowles,  and  Stephen  Horsey,  March  6,  1866. 

The  Public  Debt  and  Specie  Payments 183 

Speech  delivered  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  March  16,  1866. 

The  Memory  of  Abraham  Lincoln 202 

Remarks  made  in  the  House  of  Representatives.  April  14,  1866. 

The  Tariff  Bill  of  1866 205 

Speech  delivered  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  July  10,  1866. 

National  Politics 216 

Speech  delivered  at  Warren,  Ohio,  September  i,  1866. 

Reconstruction 243 

Remarks  made  in  the  House  of  Representatives  on  various  Occasions. 

College  Education 265 

Address  delivered  before  the  Literary  Societies  of  Hiram  College,  Hiram, 
Ohio,  June  14,  1867. 

The  Currency 284 

Speech  delivered  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  May  15,  1868. 
Strewing  Flowers  on  the  Graves  of  Union  Soldiers  .    .    .    322 

Oration  delivered  at  Arlington,  Virginia,  May  30,  1868. 

Taxation  of  United  States  Bonds 327 

Speech  delivered  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  July  15,  1868. 

Mr.  Stevens  and  the  Five-Twenty  Bonds 356 

Personal  Explanation  made  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  July  23, 1868. 

Indian  Affairs 364 

Remarks  made  in  the  House  of  Representatives  on  various  Occasions. 

Commissioner  Wells's  Report 383 

Remarks  made  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  January  19,  186^ 

Political  Issues  of  1868 390 

Speech  delivered  at  Orwell,  Ohio,  August  28,  1868. 

The  Reduction  of  the  Army 408 

Speech  delivered  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  February  9, 1869. 

The  Smithsonian  Institution 430 

Remarks  made  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  March  i,  1869. 


The  Medtcal  and  Surgical  History  of  the  Rebellion.    .    .    434 

Remarks  made  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  March  2,  1869. 

Strengthening  the  Pubuc  Credit 439 

Remarks  made  in  the  House  ol  Representatives,  March  j,  1869 

The  Ninth  Census 443 

Remarks  made  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  April  6,  1869. 

The  Ninth  Census 450 

Speech  delivered  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  December  16^  1869. 

The  Canvass  in  Ohio      .    .    .    .  ' 477 

Speech  delivered  at  Mount  Vernon,  Ohio,  August  14,  1869. 

Civil  Service  Reform 499 

Remarks  made  in  the  House  of  Representatives  on  various  Occasions. 

The  Tariff  Bill  of  1870 520 

Speech  delivered  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  April  i,  1870. 

Currency  and  the  Banics 543 

Speech  delivered  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  June  7,  187a 

Currency  and  the  Banks 571 

Speech  delivered  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  June  15,  187a        • 

Currency  and  the  Banks 584 

Speech  delivered  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  June  29,  1870. 

Joshua  R.  Giddings 593 

Address  delivered  at  Jefferson,  Ohio,  July  25,  1870,  at  the  Dedication  of 
the  Giddings  Monument. 

Political  Issues  of  1870 610 

Speech  delivered  at  Mansfield,  Ohio,  August  27,  1870. 

American  Agriculture 632 

Address  delivered  at  the  Northern  Ohio  Fair,  Cleveland,  Ohio,  Octo- 
ber 12,  1S70. 

General  George  H.  Thomas:  his  Life  and  Character     .    .    643 

Oration  delivered  before  the  Society  of  the  Army  of  the  Cumberland,  at 
the  Fourth  Annual  Reunion,  Cleveland,  Ohio,  November  #5,  1870. 

The  Right  to  originate  Revenue  Bills 674 

Speech  delivered  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  March  3,  187 1. 


The  Ku-Klux  Act 702 

Speech  delivered  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  April  4,  1871. 

The  Ohio  Campaign  of  187  i 732 

Speech  delivered  in  Mozart  Hall,  Cincinnati,  August  24,  187 1. 

The  Fourteenth  Amendment  and  Representation     ....    761 
Remarks  made  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  December  12,  187 1. 


I.  Letter  to  Major- General  Rosecrans 767 

II.  Letter  to  Secretary  Chase 772 

III.  Remarks  on  General  Rosecrans 775 







January  28,  1864. 

The  confiscation  of  property  as  a  punishment  for  treason  attracted  the 
attention  of  Congress  early  in  the  war.  August  6,  186 1,  an  act  was  ap- 
proved, the  first  section  of  which  authorized  and  directed  the  seizure,  con- 
fiscation, and  condemnation  of  property,  of  whatever  kind  or  description, 
that  should  be  purchased,  acquired,  sold,  given,  used,  or  employed  with 
intent  to  aid,  abet,  or  promote  insurrection  or  resistance  to  the  laws  of 
the  United  States.  The  fourth  section  of  the  same  act  declared  that  all 
claims  to  the  labor  or  service  of  any  slave  should  be  forfeited,  provided  said 
slave  should,  by  the  requirement  or  the  permission  of  his  owner,  or  his 
ov^-ner's  agent,  take  up  arms  against  the  United  States,  or  perform  labor  in 
or  upon  any  fort,  navy- yard,  dock,  armory,  ship,  intrenchment,  or  in  any 
military  or  naval  service  whatsoever  against  the  government  and  lawful 
authority  of  the  United  States.  July  17, 1862,  a  much  more  rigorous  and 
sweepting  act  was  approved.  It  provided  that  every  person  adjudged 
guilty  of  treason  against  the  United  States  should  suffer  death,  or,  at  the 
discretion  of  the  court,  be  imprisoned  not  less  than  five  years,  be  fined  not 
less  than  ten  thousand  dollars  (the  fine  to  be  levied  on  all  property,  real 
and  personal,  excluding  slaves),  and  all  his  slaves,  if  any,  be  declared  and 
made  free.  This  act  also  provided  that,  to  insure  the  speedy  termination 
of  the  rebellion  then  in  progress,  it  should  be  made  the  duty  of  the  Presi- 
dent to  cause  the  seizure  of  all  the  estate  and  property,  money,  stocks, 

VOL.  I.  I 


credits,  and  effects  of  certain  enumerated  classes  of  persons  (six  in  num- 
ber), and  to  apply  and  use  the  same  and  the  proceeds  thereof  for  t|je 
support  of  the  Army  of  the  United  States.  While  this  bill  was  pending 
in  the  two  Houses,  special  attention  was  called  to  clause  2,  section  3, 
Article  III.  of  the  Constitution:  "The  Congress  shall  have  power  to 
declare  the  punishment  of  treason ;  but  no  attainder  of  treason  shall  work 
corruption  of  blood,  or  forfeiture,  except  during  the  life  of  the  person 
attainted."  It  became  known  that  President  Lincoln  held  that  the 
phrase  "  except  during  the  life  of  the  person  attainted  "  limited  the  time 
for  which  the  forfeiture  of  real  estate  might  be  worked,  rather  than  the 
period  within  which  it  might  be  worked.  The  President,  supposing  that 
the  bill  would  pass  in  a  form  disregarding  this  limitation,  prepared  a  veto 
in  advance,  a  copy  of  which  he  subsequently  ^  laid  before  the  House  of 
Representatives  for  their  information.  Congress  passed  the  bill  in  the 
form  proposed,  but  to  avert  the  veto  sent  with  the  bill  to  the  White 
House  a  joint  resolution  framed  to  remove  the  President's  objections, 
of  which  this  was  the  last  clause :  "  Nor  shall  any  punishment  or  pro- 
ceedings under  said  act  be  so  construed  as  to  work  a  forfeiture  of  the 
real  estate  of  the  offender  beyond  his  natural  life."  Considering  the  bill 
and  the  resolution  "as  being  substantially  one,"  President  Lincoln  ap- 
proved and  signed  both. 

January  7,  1864,  Mr.  J.  F.  Wilson  of  Iowa  introduced  into  the  House 
of  Representatives  a  joint  resolution  explanatory  of  the  Act  of  July  1 7, 
1862,  which  as  reported  back  from  the  Judiciary  Committee,  omitting  a 
proviso  that  is  immaterial  for  the  present  purpose,  read  thus :  "  That  the 
last  clause  of  a  joint  resolution  explanatory  of  *  An  Act  to  suppress  in- 
surrection, to  punish  treason  and  rebellion,  to  seize  and  confiscate  the 
property  of  rebels,  and  for  other  purposes,'  approved  July  17,  1862,  be, 
and  the  same  hereby  is,  so  amended  as  to  read,  *  Nor  shall  any  punish- 
ment or  proceeding  under  said  act  be  so  construed  as  to  work  a  forfeit- 
ure of  the  estate  of  the  offender  contrary  to  the  Constitution  of  the 
United  States.' "  As  in  1862,  the  clause  of  the  Constitution  respecting 
forfeitures  was  a  main  point  in  the  debate. 

While  Mr.  S.  S.  Cox,  then  of  Ohio,  now  of  New  York,  was  speaking, 
January  14,  Mr.  Garfield  said  :  "  I  wish  to  ask  my  colleague  a  practical 
rather  than  a  legal  question.  I  wish  to  know  whether  the  objection  he 
raises  to  this  resolution  is  not  itself  obnoxious  to  this  objection.  We 
punish  men  for  civil  and  for  criminal  offences,  great  and  small,  in  all  the 
higher  and  lower  courts  of  the  country,  by  taking  their  property  from 
them,  so  that  their  children  can  never  have  the  benefit  of  it  after  the 
parent's  death.  Now,  while  we  do  this  constantly  in  our  courts,  by  civil 
and  criminal  processes,  does  not  my  colleague  propose  to  make  an  ex- 
ception in  favor  of  the  crime  of  treason  ?    Why  should  not  the  children 

'  July  i7i  1862. 


of  traitors  suffer  the  same  kind  of  loss  and  inconvenience  as  the  chil- 
dren of  thieves  and  other  felons  do?  I  ask  the  gentleman  whether  his 
position  does  not  involve  this  great  absurdity  and  injustice  ?  " 

In  reply  to  a  question  by  Mr.  Cox,  Mr.  Garfield  said  :  "  I  do  not  see 
that  in  this  resolution  we  do  break  the  Constitution.  If  the  gentleman 
can  show  me  that  it  violates  the  Constitution,  I  will  vote  against  it  with 
him,  even  though  every  member  of  my  party  votes  for  it ;  that  makes  no 
difference  to  me.  I  will  say,  however,  that  I  had  supposed  that  the 
intention  of  that  clause  of  the  Constitution  was  to  prevent  the  punish- 
ment of  treason  when  an  individual  was  declared  guilty  of  it  after  his 
death.  I  had  supposed  that  that  was  the  purpose  of  it,  and  if  so,  it 
seems  to  me  that  this  bill  is  not  obnoxious  to  the  objection  which  the 
gentleman  raises  to  it.*' 

January  28,  the  House  still  having  under  consideration  the  Wilson 
resolution,  Mr.  Garfield  delivered  the  following  speech.  February  5, 
the  House  passed  the  resolution.  No  action  was  had  in  the  Senate. 
This  was  the  end  of  the  resolution,  and  also  the  end  of  all  serious 
attempts  to  legislate  further  upon  the  confiscation  of  the  property  of 
rebels  for  the  punishment  of  treason. 

MR.  SPEAKER,  —  I  had  not  intended  to  ask  the  attention 
of  the  House,  or  to  occupy  its  time  on  this  question  of 
confiscation  at  all;  but  some  things  have  been  said  touching  its 
military  aspects  which  make  it  proper  for  me  to  trespass  upon 
the  patience  of  the  House  even  at  this  late  period  of  the  discus- 
sion. Feeling  that,  fti  some  small  degree,  I  represent  on  this 
floor  the  army  of  the  republic,  I  am  the  more  emboldened  to 
speak  on  the  subject  before  us.  I  have  been  surprised  that,  in 
so  long  and  so  able  a  discussion,  so  little  reference  has  been 
made  to  the  merits  of  the  resolution  itself.  Very  much  of  the 
debate  has  had  reference  to  questions  which  I  believe,  with  all 
deference  to  the  better  judgment  and  maturcr  experience  of 
others,  arc  not  germane  to  the  subject  before  the  House. 

In  the  wide  range  of  discussion,  the  various  theories  of  the 
legal  and  political  status  of  the  rebellious  States  have  been 
examined,  —  whether  they  exist  any  longer  as  States,  and,  if 
they  do,  whether  they  are  in  the  Union  or  out  of  it.  It  is  per- 
haps necessary  that  we  take  ground  upon  that  question  as  pre- 
liminary to  the  discussion  of  the  resolution  itself.  Two  theories, 
differing  widely  from  each  other,  have  been  proposed ;  but  I 
cannot  consider  either  of  them    as  wholly  correct.     I   cannot 


agree  with  the  distinguished  gentleman  from  Pennsylvania,^  who 
acknowledges  that  these  States  are  out  of  the  Union  and  now 
constitute  a  foreign  people.  Nor  can  I,  on  the  other  hand, 
agree  with  those  who  believe  that  the  insurgent  States  are  not 
only  in  the  Union,  but  have  lost  none  of  their  rights  under  the 
Constitution  and  laws  of  the  Union. 

Our  situation  affords  a  singular  parallel  to  that  of  the  people 
of  Great  Britain  in  their  great  revolution  of  the  seventeenth 
century.  From  time  immemorial  it  was  the  fiction  of  English 
law  that  the  kingship  was  immortal,  hereditary,  and  inalienable; 
that  the  king  was  "  king  by  the  grace  of  God  " ;  that  he  could 
do  no  wrong,  and  that  his  throne  could  never  be  vacant.  But 
the  logic  of  events  brought  these  theories  to  a  practical  test 
James  II.  left  the  throne,  threw  the  great  seal  of  the  kingdom 
into  the  Thames,  and,  fleeing  from  his  own  people,  took  refuge 
in  France.  The  great  statesmen  of  the  realm  took  counsel 
together  on  some  of  the  very  questions  which  we  are  discussing 
to-day.  One  said,  **  The  king  has  abdicated ;  we  will  put 
another  in  his  place."  Another  said,  "The  crown  is  hereditary; 
we  must  put  the  heir  in  his  place."  The  men  of  books  and 
black-letter  learning  answered,  Nemo  est  hares  viventis,  "The 
king  is  alive,  and  can  have  no  heir."  Another  said,  "  We  will 
appoint  a  regent,  and  consider  the  kingship  in  abeyance  until 
the  king  returns."  The  people  said,  "  We  will  have  a  king,  but 
not  James."  Through  all  this  struggle  two  facts  were  apparent: 
the  throne  was  vacant,  and  their  king  was  unworthy  to  fill  it. 
The  British  nation  cut  through  the  entanglement  of  words,  and 
filled  it  with  the  man  of  their  choice.  We  are  taught  by  this 
that,  whenever  a  great  people  desire  to  do  a  thing  which  ought 
to  be  done,  they  will  find  the  means  of  doing  it. 

In  this  government  we  have  thrown  off  the  kingly  fiction, 
but  there  is  another  which  we  are  following  as  slavishly  as 
ever  England  followed  that.  Here,  corporations  are  more  than 
kings.  It  is  the  doctrine  of  our  common  law  (if  we  may  be  said 
to  have  a  common  law)  that  corporations  have  neither  con- 
sciences nor  souls ;  that  they  cannot  commit  crimes ;  that  they 
cannot  be  punished ;  and  that  they  are  immortal.  These  prop- 
ositions are  being  applied  to  the  rebel  States.  They  are  corpo- 
rations of  a  political  character,  bodies  corporate  and  politic; 
they  are  immortal,  and  cannot  be  touched  by  the  justice  of  law, 

*  Mr.  Stevens. 


or  by  the  power  of  an  outraged  government.  They  hover 
around  our  borders  like  malignant,  bloody  fiends,  carrying 
death  in  their  course ;  and  yet  we  are  told  they  cannot  be  pun- 
ished nor  their  ancient  rights  be  invaded.  The  people  of  the 
South,  under  the  direction  of  these  phantom  States,  are  moving 
the  powers  of  earth  and  hell  to  destroy  this  government.  They 
plead  the  order  of  their  States  as  their  shield  from  punishment,' 
and  the  States  plead  the  impunity  of  soulless  corporations.  But 
the  American  people  will  not  be  deluded  by  these  theories,  nor 
waste  time  in  discussing  them.  They  are  striking  through  all 
shams  with  the  sword,  and  are  finding  a  practical  solution,  as 
England  did.  And  what  is  that  practical  solution?  The  Su- 
preme Court  of  the  United  States  has  aided  us,  at  this  point,  in 
the  Prize  Cases  decided  on  March  3,  1863.^  It  is  there  said  in 
effect — 

"That  since  July  13,  1861,  the  United  States  have  had  full  belligerent 
rights  against  all  persons  residing  in  the  districts  declared  by  the  Presi- 
dent's proclamation  to  be  in  rebellion." 

"  That  the  laws  of  war,  whether  that  war  be  civil  or  inter  gentesy  con- 
vert every  citizen  of  the  hostile  state  into  a  public  enemy,  and  treat  him 
accordingly,  whatever  may  have  been  his  previous  conduct." 

"That  all  the  rights  derived  from  the  laws  of  war  may  now,  since 
1 86 1,  be  lawfully  and  constitutionally  exercised  against  all  the  citizens 
of  the  districts  in  rebellion." 

The  court  decided  that  the  same  laws  of  war  which  apply  to 
hostile  foreign  states  are  to  be  applied  to  this  rebellion.  But  in 
so  deciding  they  do  not  decide  that  the  rebellious  States  are, 
therefore,  a  foreign  people.  I  do  not  hold  it  necessary  to  admit 
that  they  are  a  foreign  people.  I  do  not  admit  it.  I  claim,  on 
the  contrary,  that  the  obligations  of  the  Constitution  still  hang 
over  them;  but  by  their  own  act  of  rebellion  they  have  cut 
themselves  off  from  all  rights  and  privileges  under  the  Constitu- 
tion. When  the  government  of  the  United  States  declared  the 
country  in  a  state  of  war,  the  rebel  States  came  under  the  laws 
of  war.  By  their  acts  of  rebellion  they  swept  away  every  ves- 
tige of  their  civil  and  political  rights  under  the  Constitution  of 
the  United  States.  Their  obligations  still  remained;  but  the 
reciprocal  rights  which  usually  accompany  obligations  they  had 

I  2  Black,  635. 


The  question  then  lies  open  before  us,  In  a  state  of  war, 
under  the  laws  of  war,  is  this  resolution  constitutional  and  wise? 
I  insist,  Mr.  Speaker,  that  the  only  constitutional  question  in- 
volved in  the  resolution  is  whether  this  government,  in  the 
exercise  of  its  rights  as  a  belligerent,  under  the  laws  of  war,  can 
or  cannot  punish  armed  rebels  and  confiscate  their  estates,  both 
personal  and  real,  for  life  and  forever.  This  is  the  only  con- 
stitutional question  before  us. 

Gentlemen  have  learnedly  discussed  the  constitutional  powers 
of  Congress  to  punish  the  crime  of  treason.  It  matters  not 
how  that  question  is  decided ;  in  my  judgment,  it  has  no  bear- 
ing whatever  on  the  resolution  before  the  House.  I  will  only 
say  in  passing,  that  the  Supreme  Court  has  never  decided  that 
the  clause  of  the  Constitution  relating  to  treason  prohibits  for- 
feiture beyond  the  lifetime  of  persons  attainted.  No  man  in 
this  House  has  found  any  decision  of  the  Supreme  Court  giving 
the  meaning  to  the  Constitution  which  gentlemen  on  the  other 
side  of  the  chamber  have  given  to  it.  They  can  claim  no  more 
than  that  the  question  is  res  non  adjudicata.  The  arguments 
we  have  heard  are  sufficient  evidence  to  me,  at  least,  that  the 
framers  of  our  Constitution  intended  that  Congress  should  have 
full  power  to  define  treason,  and  provide  for  its  punishment; 
but  the  rule  of  the  English  common  law,  which  permitted 
attainder,  corruption  of  blood,  and  forfeiture  to  be  declared 
after  the  death  of  the  accused,  should  not  prevail  in  this  coun- 
try. To  me  the  clause  carries  an  absurdity  on  its  face,  if  it  be 
interpreted  to  mean  that  treason,  the  highest  crime  known  to 
law,  shall  be  punished  with  less  severity,  so  far  as  it  regards  the 
estate  of  the  criminal,  than  any  other  crime  or  misdemeanor 
whatsoever.  But,  as  I  before  said,  the  present  law  of  confiscation 
is  based  on  the  rights  of  belligerents  under  the  laws  of  war. 

The  gentleman  from  New  York^  a  few  days  since,  in  his 
address  to  the  House,  gave  us  a  history  of  the  rebellions  which 
have  occurred  in  this  country.  I  wish  to  call  his  attention  to 
one  of  our  rebellions,  a  very  important  one,  which  he  did  not 
notice,  and  in  which  the  question  of  confiscation  was  very  fully 
and  very  practically  discussed.  This  fact  has  not,  I  believe, 
been  brought  to  the  attention  of  the  House.  Do  gentlemen 
forget  that  the  Union  had  its  origin  in  revolution,  and  that  con- 
fiscation played  a  very  important  part   in  that  revolution?     It 

*  Mr.  Fernando  Wood. 


was  a  civil  war;  and  the  Colonies  were  far  more  equally  divided 
on  the  question  of  loyalty  than  the  States  of  the  South  now  are 
on  the  questions  of  to-day.  Many  of  the  thirteen  Colonies  had 
almost  equal  parties  for  and  against  England  in  that  struggle. 
In  New  York  the  parties  were  of  nearly  equal  strength.  In 
South  Carolina  there  were  probably  more  Royalists  than  Whigs. 
Twenty  thousand  American  Tories  appeared  in  the  armies 
against  us  in  the  Revolutionary  struggle.  Thirty  Tory  regiments 
served  in  the  British  line.  Our  fathers  had  to  deal  with  these 
men,  and  with  their  estates.  How  did  they  solve  the  problem? 
I  have  looked  into  the  history  of  its  solution,  and  find  it  full 
of  instruction.  Every  one  of  the  thirteen  States,  with  a  single 
exception,  confiscated  the  real  and  personal  property  of  Tories 
in  arms.  They  did  it,  too,  by  the  recommendation  of  Congress. 
Not  only  so,  but  they  drove  Tory  sympathizers  from  the  coun- 
try; they  would  not  permit  them  to  remain  upon  American 
soil.  Examine  the  statutes  of  every  State,  except  New 
Hampshire,  where  the  tide  of  battle  never  reached,  and  you 
will  find  confiscation  laws  of  the  most  thorough  and  sweeping 
character.  When  our  commissioners  were  negotiating  the 
treaty  of  peace,  the  last  matter  of  difference  and  discussion  was 
that  of  confiscated  property.  The  British  commissioners  urged 
the  restoration  of  confiscated  estates,  but  Jay  and  Franklin  and 
their  colleagues  defended  the  right  of  confiscation  with  great 
ability,  and  refused  to  sign  the  treaty  at  all  if  that  was  to  be  a 
condition.  While  these  negotiations  were  pending,  the  States 
memorialized  Congress  to  guard  against  any  concession  on  the 
point  in  dispute,  and  our  commissioners  were  instructed  by 
Congress  to  admit  no  conditions  which  would  compel  the  res- 
toration of  confiscated  estates.  The  final  settlement  of  the  ques- 
tion will  be  found  in  the  fifth  article  of  the  treaty  of  peace  as 
it  now  stands  recorded,  which  provided  that  Congress  should 
recommend  to  the  several  Colonies  to  restore  confiscated  prop- 
erty ;  but  it  was  well  understood  by  both  parties  that  it  would 
not  be  done.  Congress  passed  the  resolution  of  recommenda- 
tion as  a  matter  of  form ;  but  no  State  complied,  or  was  ex- 
pected to  comply  with  it.  It  was,  however,  provided  that  no 
further  confiscations  should  be  made,  and  that  Tories  should  be 
permitted  to  remain  in  America  for  twelve  months  after  the 
In  the  debates  of  the  English  House  of  Lords  in  1783,  up- 


on  the  treaty  of  peace,  Lord  Shelbume  frankly  admitted  that 
the  Loyalists  were  left  without  better  provision  being  made  for 
them,  **  from  the  unhappy  necessity  of  public  affairs,  which  in- 
duced the  extremity  of  submitting  the  fate  of  their  property 
to  the  discretion  of  their  enemies."  "  I  have,"  he  said,  "  but 
one  answer  to  give  the  House;  it  is  the  answer  I  gave  my 
own  bleeding  heart.  A  part  must  be  wounded,  that  the  whole 
of  the  empire  may  not  perish.  If  better  terms  could  be  had, 
think  you,  my  lord,  that  I  would  not  have  embraced  them? 
/  had  but  the  alternative  either  to  accept  the  terms  proposed  or 
continue  the  war!*  Lord  Shelburne  also  declared,  that  "  with- 
out one  drop  of  blood  spilt,  and  without  one  fifth  of  the  ex- 
pense of  one  year's  campaign,  happiness  and  ease  can  be  given 
them  in  as  ample  a  manner  as  these  blessings  were  ever  in  their 
enjoyment."  The  Lord  Chancellor  defended  the  treaty  on  other 
grounds,  but  said,  if  necessary,  "  Parliament  could  take  cogni- 
zance of  their  case,  and  impart  to  each  suffering  individual  that 
relief  which  reason,  perhaps  policy,  certainly  virtue  and  reli- 
gion, required."  ^ 

Thus  Revolutionary  confiscation  passed  into  history  by  the 
consent  and  agreement  of  both  belligerents.  Its  principles 
were  also  defended  by  our  government  after  the  adoption  of 
the  Constitution.  In  1792  Mr.  Jefferson,  then  Secretary  of 
State,  in  answer  to  some  complaints  of  the  British  government, 
reviewed  the  whole  question  at  great  length  and  with  great 
ability.  I  ask  my  colleague  ^  to  notice  these  extracts  relating 
to  belligerent  rights,  which  he  has  just  been  discussing. 

"  It  cannot  be  denied  that  the  state  of  war  strictly  permits  a  nation  to 
seize  the  property  of  its  enemies  found  within  its  own  limits  or  taken  in 
war,  and  in  whatever  form  it  exists,  whether  in  action  or  possession. 
This  is  so  perspicuously  laid  down  by  one  of  the  most  respectable 
writers  on  subjects  of  this  kind,  that  I  shall  use  his  words :  *  Since  it  is 
a  condition  of  war,  that  enemies  may  be  deprived  of  all  their  rights,  it 
is  reasonable  that  everything  of  an  enemy's,  found  among  his  enemies, 
should  change  its  owner  and  go  to  the  treasury.  It  is,  moreover,  usually 
directed,  in  all  declarations  of  war,  that  the  goods  of  enemies,  as  well 
those  found  among  us  as  those  taken  in  war,  shall  be  confiscated.  If  we 
follow  the  mere  right  of  war,  even  immovable  property  may  be  sold  and 
its  price  carried  into  the  treasury,  as  is  the  custom  with  movable  property. 

1  See  Sabine's  American  Loyalists,  Vol.  I.  pp.  101,  102  (Boston,  1864). 

2  Mr.  Finck  of  Ohio. 


But  in  almost  all  Europe,  it  is  only  notified  that  their  profits,  during  the 
war,  shall  be  received  by  the  treasury ;  and  the  war  being  ended,  the 
immovable  property  itself  is  restored,  by  agreement,  to  the  former 
owner.' "  ^ 

"Exile  and  Confiscations.  —  After  premising  that  these  are  lawful 
acts  of  war,  I  have  shown  that  the  fifth  article  [of  the  treaty  of  1 783] 
was  recommendatory  only,  its  stipulations  being,  not  to  restore  the  confis- 
cations and  exiles,  but  to  recommend  to  the  State  Legislatures  to  restore 
them ;  —  that  this  word,  having  but  one  meaning,  establishes  the  intent 
of  the  parties ;  and,  moreover,  that  it  was  particularly  explained  by  the 
American  negotiators  that  the  Legislatures  would  be  free  to  comply  with 
the  recommendation  or  not,  and  probably  would  not  comply ;  —  that  the 
British  negotiators  so  understood  it ;  —  that  the  British  ministry  so  un- 
derstood it ;  and  the  members  of  both  Houses  of  Parliament y  as  well 
those  who  approved  as  who  disapproved  the  article." ' 

Thus  the  Revolutionary  fathers,  both  before  and  after  the 
adoption  of  the  Constitution,  defended  confiscation. 

The  Tories  who  fled  to  England  called  upon  the  Crown  for 
support.  A  commission  was  appointed  to  examine  their  claims 
and  provide  for  their  wants.  It  is  a  significant  fact,  that  of  the 
vast  numbers  of  Tories  perhaps  not  a  thousand  remained  in 
this  country  after  the  war.  The  people  would  not  endure  their 
presence.  They  were  driven  out,  and  took  refuge  in  all  quar- 
ters of  the  globe.  They  colonized  New  Brunswick  and  Nova 
Scotia,  and  were  scattered  along  the  borders  of  Canada.  The 
States  would  show  no  favor,  even  to  the  few  who  came  back 
under  the  provisions  of  the  treaty,  and  refused  them  the  right 
of  voting,  or  of  holding  office  or  property.  It  was  well  known 
that  there  could  be  no  peace  between  them  and  our  loyal 
people.  Their  history  is  a  sad  record  of  infamy,  obscurity, 
and  misery.  Some  exhibited  their  vengeful  hate  long  after  the 
war  was  over.  Girty  and  his  associates,  who  murdered  Craw- 
ford in  the  Indian  wars  of  1782,  were  Tories  of  the  Revolution. 
Bowles  and  Panton,  leaders  among  the  Creek  Indians,  and  who 
started  the  Florida  troubles,  which  resulted  in  a  long  and  bloody 
conflict  in  the  swamps  of  that  region,  were  Tories.  As  a  class, 
they  went  out  with  the  brand  of  Cain  upon  them,  and  were  not 
permitted  to  return.     One  State  alone  relented.     South  Caro- 

*  Jefferson's  Works,  Vol.  III.  p.  369.    The  writer  quoted  by  Jefferson  is  Bynker- 

«  Ibid.,  Vol.  III.  p.  423. 



Una  passed  an  act  of  oblivion,  restored  a  large  part  of  the  con- 
fiscated estates,  and  permitted  the  Tories  after  a  short  time  to 
vote  and  hold  office.  Her  policy  has  borne  its  bitter  fruit. 
Her  government  has  hardly  been  entitled  to  be  called  republi- 
can. The  spirit  of  monarchy  and  disloyalty  has  ruled  her  coun- 
cils, and  has  at  last  plunged  the  republic  into  the  most  gigantic 
and  bloody  of  rebellions. 

Let  us  take  counsel  from  the  wisdom  of  our  fathers.  Is  it 
probable  that  the  same  men  who  confiscated  all  the  property  of 
armed  Tories  would,  a  few  years  later,  establish  it  as  a  funda- 
mental doctrine  of  the  Constitution  that  no  confiscation  can  be 
made  beyond  the  lifetime  of  the  attainted  traitor?  Is  it  proba- 
ble that  men  who  had  just  done  what  they  stubbornly  held  to 
be  right  should  enact  as  a  part  of  the  supreme  law  of  the  land 
that  the  same  thing  should  never  be  done  again  ? 

I  now  come  more  directly  to  consider  the  policy  involved 
in  the  resolution  before  us.  Landed  estates,  Mr.  Speaker, 
are  inseparably  connected  with  the  peculiar  institution  of  the 
South.  It  is  well  known  that  the  power  of  slavery  rests  in 
large  plantations;  that  the  planter's  capital  drives  the  poor 
whites  to  the  mountains,  where  liberty  always  loves  to  dwell, 
and  to  the  swamps  and  by-places  of  the  South ;  and  that  the 
bulk  of  all  the  real  estate  is  in  the  hands  of  the  slave-owners 
who  have  plotted  this  great  conspiracy.  Let  me  give  you  an 
instance  of  this,  one  of  a  thousand  that  might  be  given.  In  the 
town  of  Murfreesboro',  Rutherford  County,  Tennessee  (a  place 
made  sacred  and  glorious  forever  by  the  valor  of  our  army), 
there  are  14,493  acres  of  land  under  enclosure  owned  by  six- 
teen men ;  three  of  the  sixteen  men  own  more  than  ten  thou- 
sand of  the  acres.  One  of  the  three  owns  half  of  the  whole 
township  of  Murfreesboro*.  And  this  is  only  a  specimen  of 
what  these  men  of  the  South  are  to  the  lands  of  the  South. 
Only  a  few  hundred  men  own  the  bulk  of  the  land  in  any 
Southern  State ;  they  hold  the  lands  and  own  the  slaves.  These 
men  plotted  the  rebellion  and  thrust  it  upon  us.  They  have 
had  the  political  power  in  their  hands,  and  if  you  permit  them 
to  go  back  to  their  lands  they  will  have  it  again.  The  laws  of 
nature,  the  laws  of  society,  cannot  be  overcome  by  the  resolu- 
tions of  Congress.  Grant  a  general  amnesty,  let  these  men  go 
back  to  their  lands,  and  they  will  again  control  the  South. 
They  have  so  long  believed  themselves  born  to  rule,  that  they 


will  rule  the  poor  man  in  the  future,  as  in  the  past,  with  a  rod 
of  iron.  The  landless  man  of  the  South  has  learned  the  lesson 
of  submission  so  well  that  when  he  is  confronted  by  a  landed 
proprietor  he  begins  to  be  painfully  deferential ;  he  is  facile  and 
dependent,  and  less  a  man,  than  if  he  stood  on  a  little  spot  of 
God's  earth  covered  by  his  own  title-deed. 

Sir,  if  we  want  a  lasting  peace,  if  we  want  to  put  down  this 
rebelHon  so  that  it  shall  stay  forever  put  down,  we  must  put 
down  its  guilty  cause ;  we  must  put  down  slavery ;  we  must  take 
away  the  platform  on  which  slavery  stands,  —  the  great  landed 
estates  of  the  armed  rebels  of  the  South.  Strike  that  platform 
from  beneath  its  feet,  take  that  land  away,  and  divide  it  into 
homes  for  the  men  who  have  saved  our  country.  I  put  it  to 
this  House  as  a  necessity  which  stares  us  in  the  face.  What,  let 
me  ask  you,  will  you  do  with  the  battle-fields  of  the  South  ? 
Who  own  them?  Who  own  the  red  field  of  Stone  River?  Two 
or  three  men  own  it  all.  And  who  are  these  two  or  three  men? 
Rebels,  every  one,  —  one  of  them  a  man  who  once  sat  in  this 
chamber,  but  who  is  now  a  leader  in  the  rebel  army.  Will  you 
let  hint  come  back  and  repossess  his  land  ?  Will  you  ask  his 
permission  when  you  go  to  visit  the  grave  of  your  dead  son  who 
sleeps  in  the  bosom  of  that  sacred  field?  If  the  principles  of 
the  gentlemen  on  the  other  side  be  carried  out,  there  is  not  one 
of  the  great  battle-fields  of  the  war  (save  Gettysburg,  which  lies 
yonder  on  this  side  of  the  line)  that  will  not  descend  for  all  time 
to  come  to  the  sons  of  rebels,  —  to  men  whose  fathers  gained  a 
bad  eminence  by  fighting  against  their  country,  and  who  will 
love  those  fathers  for  affection's  sake,  and  love  rebellion  for  their 
fathers'  sake.  God  forbid  that  we  should  ever  visit  those  spots, 
made  sacred  by  the  blood  of  so  many  thousand  brave  men,  and 
see  our  enemies  holding  the  fields  and  ploughing  the  graves  of 
our  brethren,  while  the  sweat  of  slaves  falls  on  the  sod  which 
ought  to  be  forever  sacred  to  every  American  citizen ! 

The  history  of  opinion  and  its  changes  in  the  army  is  a  very 
interesting  one.  When  the  war  broke  out,  men  of  all  parties 
sprang  to  arms  by  a  common  impulse  of  generous  patriotism,  — 
which  I  am  glad  to  acknowledge  here  in  the  presence  of  those  in 
whose  hearts  that  impulse  seems  now  to  be  utterly  dead.  I 
remember  to  have  said  to  a  friend  when  I  entered  the  army, 
"You  hate  slavery;  so  do  I;  but  I  hate  disunion  more.  Let 
us  drop  the  slavery  question  and   fight  to  sustain  the  Union. 


When  the  supremacy  of  the  government  has  been  re-established, 
we  will  attend  to  the  other  question."  I  said  to  another,  "  You 
love  slavery.  Do  you  love  the  Union  more?  If  you  do,  go 
with  me ;  we  will  let  slavery  alone,  and  fight  for  the  Union. 
When  that  is  saved,  we  will  take  up  our  old  quarrel,  if  there  is 
anything  left  to  quarrel  about."  I  started  out  with  that  position, 
taken  in  good  faith,  as  did  thousands  of  others  of  all  parties. 
But  the  army  soon  found  that,  do  what  it  would,  the  black 
phantom  met  it  everywhere,  —  in  the  camp,  in  the  bivouac,  on 
the  battle-field,  —  and  at  all  times.  It  was  a  ghost  that  would 
not  be  laid.  Slavery  was  both  the  strength  and  the  weakness  of 
the  enemy :  his  strength,  for  it  tilled  his  fields  and  fed  his  legions ; 
his  weakness,  for  in  the  hearts  of  slaves  dwelt  dim  prophecies 
that  their  deliverance  from  bondage  would  be  the  outcome  of 
the  war.  Mr.  Seward  well  says,  in  an  official  despatch  to  our 
Minister  at  the  Court  of  St.  James,  "  Everywhere  the  American 
general  receives  his  most  useful  and  reliable  information  from 
the  negro,  who  hails  his  coming  as  the  harbinger  of  freedom." 
These  ill-used  men  came  from  the  cotton-fields;  they  swam 
rivers,  they  climbed  mountains,  they  came  through  jungles  in 
the  darkness  and  storms  of  the  night,  to  tell  us  that  the  enemy 
was  coming  here  or  coming  there.  They  were  our  true  friends 
in  every  case.  There  has  hardly  been  a  battle,  a  march,  or  any 
important  event  of  the  war,  where  the  friend  of  our  cause,  the 
black  man,  has  not  been  found  truthful  and  helpful,  and  always 
devotedly  loyal.  The  conviction  forced  itself  upon  the  mind 
of  every  soldier  that  behind  the  rebel  army  of  soldiers  the  black 
army  of  laborers  was  feeding  and  sustaining  the  rebellion,  and 
there  could  be  no  victory  till  its  main  support  should  be  taken 

"  You  take  my  house  when  you  do  take  the  prop 
That  doth  sustain  my  house.'* 

The  rebellion  falls  when  you  take  away  its  chief  prop,  slavery 
and  landed  estates. 

Gentlemen  on  the  other  side,  you  tell  me  that  this  is  an  Aboli- 
tion war.  If  you  please  to  say  so,  I  grant  it.  The  rapid  cur- 
rent of  events  has  made  the  army  of  the  republic  an  Abolition 
army.  I  can  find  in  the  ranks  a  thousand  men  who  are  in 
favor  of  sweeping  away  slavery  to  every  dozen  that  desire  to 
preserve  it.  They  have  been  where  they  have  seen  its  malevo- 
lence, its  baleful  effects  upon  the  country  and  the  Union,  and 


they  demand  that  it  shall  be  swept  away.  I  never  expect  to 
discuss  the  demerits  of  slavery  again,  for  I  deem  it  unnecessary. 
The  fiat  has  gone  forth,  and  it  is  dead  unless  the  body-snatchers 
on  the  other  side  of  this  House  shall  give  it  galvanic  life.  You 
may  say  to  me  that  slavery  is  a  divine  institution;  you  may 
prove  to  your  own  satisfaction  from  the  word  of  God,  perhaps, 
that  slavery  is  a  beneficent  institution.  I  will  say  to  you  that 
all  this  may  be  entirely  satisfactory  to  your  mind,  but  your  be- 
loved friend  slavery  is  no  more.  This  is  a  world  of  bereave- 
ments and  changes,  and  I  announce  to  you  that  your  friend  has 
departed.  Hang  the  drapery  of  mourning  on  the  bier !  Go  in 
long  and  solemn  procession  after  the  hearse,  if  you  please,  and 
shed  your  tears  of  sorrow  over  the  grave ;  but  life  is  too  short 
to  allow  me  to  waste  an  hour  in  listening  to  your  tearful  eulogy 
over  the  deceased. 

I  come  now  to  consider  another  point  in  this  question.  I 
hold  it  a  settled  truth  that  the  leaders  of  this  rebellion  can  never 
live  in  peace  in  this  republic.  I  do  not  say  it  in  any  spirit  of 
vindictiveness,  but  as  a  matter  of  conviction.  Ask  the  men  who 
have  seen  them  and  met  them  in  the  darkness  of  battle  and  all 
the  rigors  of  warfare :  they  will  tell  you  that  it  can  never  be.  I 
make,  of  course,  an  exception  in  favor  of  that  sad  array  of  men 
who  have  been  forced  or  cajoled  by  their  leaders  into  the  ranks 
and  subordinate  offices  of  the  rebel  army.  I  believe  a  truce 
could  be  struck  to-day  between  the  rank  and  file  of  the  hostile 
armies.  I  believe  they  could  meet  and  shake  hands  joyfully 
over  returning  peace,  each  respecting  the  courage  and  manhood 
of  the  other.  But  for  the  wicked  men  who  brought  on  this 
rebellion,  for  the  wicked  men  who  led  others  into  the  darkness, 
such  a  day  can  never  come.  Ask  the  representatives  of  Ken- 
tucky upon  this  floor,  who  know  what  the  rebellion  has  been  in 
their  State,  who  know  the  violence  and  devastation  that  have 
swept  over  it,  and  they  will  tell  you  that  all  over  that  State  neigh- 
bor has  been  slaughtered  by  neighbor,  feuds  fierce  as  human  hate 
can  make  them  have  sprung  up,  and  so  long  as  revenge  has  an 
arm  to  strike,  its  blows  will  never  cease  to  be  struck,  if  such  men 
come  back  to  dwell  where  they  dwelt  before.  This  is  true  of 
every  State  over  which  the  desolating  tide  of  war  has  swept.  If 
you  would  not  inaugurate  an  exterminating  warfare,  to  continue 
while  you  and  I  and  our  children  and  children's  children  live, 
set  it  down   at  once  that  the  leaders  of  this  rebellion  must  be 


executed  or  banished  from  the  republic.     They  must  follow  the 
fate  of  the  Tories  of  the  Revolution. 

I  believe,  Mr.  Speaker,  that  the  army  is  a  unit  on  these  great 
questions ;  and  I  must  here  be  permitted  to  quote  from  one  of 
nature's  noblemen,  a  man  from  Virginia,  with  the  pride  of  the 
Old  Dominion  in  his  blood,  but  who  could  not  be  seduced 
from  his  patriotism,  —  one  who,  amid  the  storm  of  war  that 
surged  against  him  at  Chickamauga,  stood  firm  as  a  rock  in  the 
sea,  —  George  H.  Thomas.  That  man  wrote  a  communication 
to  the  Secretary  of  War  nearly  a  year  ago,  saying  in  substance, 
for  I  quote  from  memory :  "  I  send  you  the  enclosed  paper 
from  a  subordinate  officer;  I  endorse  its  sentiments,  and  I  will 
add,  that  we  can  never  make  solid  progress  against  the  rebellion 
until  we  take  more  sweeping  and  severe  measures;  we  must 
make  these  people  feel  the  rigors  of  war,  subsist  our  army  upon 
them,  and  leave  their  country  so  that  there  will  be  little  in  it  for 
them  to  desire."  Thus  spoke  a  man  who  is  very  far  from  being 
what  gentlemen  upon  the  other  side  of  the  House  are  pleased 
to  call  an  Abolitionist,  or  a  Northern  fanatic ;  and  in  saying  this, 
he  spoke  the  voice  of  the  army. 

Mr.  Speaker,  I  am  surprised  and  amazed  beyond  measure  at 
what  I  have  seen  in  this  House.  Having  been  so  long  with 
men  who  had  but  one  thought  upon  these  great  themes,  it  is 
passing  strange  to  me  to  hear  men  talking  of  the  old  issues  and 
discussions  of  four  years  ago.  They  forget  that  we  live  in 
actions  more  than  in  years.  They  forget  that  sometimes  a 
nation  may  live  a  generation  in  a  single  year;  that  the  experi- 
ence of  the  last  three  years  has  been  greater  than  that  of  centu- 
ries of  quiet  and  peace.  They  do  not  seem  to  realize  that  we 
are  at  war.  They  do  not  seem  to  realize  that  this  is  a  struggle 
for  existence, —  a  terrible  fight  of  flint  with  flint,  bayonet  with 
bayonet,  blood  for  blood.  They  still  retain  some  hope  that 
they  can  smile  rebellion  into  peace.  They  use  terms  strangely. 
In  these  modern  days  words  have  lost  their  significance.  If  a 
man  steals  his  thousands  from  the  Treasury,  he  is  not  a  thief; 
O,  no !  he  is  a  "  defaulter."  If  a  man  hangs  shackles  on  the 
limbs  of  a  human  being  and  drives  him  through  life  as  a  slave, 
it  is  not  man-stealing,  it  is  not  even  slavery ;  it  is  only  "  another 
form  of  civilization."  We  are  using  words  in  that  strange  way. 
There  are  public  journals  in  New  York  city,  I  am  told,  that 
never  call  this  a  rebellion,  —  it  is  only  a  "civil  commotion,"  a 


"fraternal  strife."  It  was  described  more  vigorously  in  this 
chamber  a  few  days  ago  as  **  an  inhuman  crusade  against  the 
South."  I  had  thought  the  day  of  "  Southern  brethren  *'  and 
•*  wayward  sisters  "  had  gone  by,  but  I  find  it  here  in  the  high 
noon  of  its  glory.  One  would  suppose  from  all  we  hear  that 
war  is  gentle  and  graceful  exercise,  to  be  indulged  in  in  a  quiet 
and  pleasant  manner.  I  have  lately  seen  a  stanza  from  the 
nursery  rhymes  of  England  which  I  commend  to  these  gentle- 
hearted  patriots  who  propose  to  put  down  the  rebellion  with 
soft  words  and  paper  resolutions :  — 

"  There  was  an  old  man  who  said.  How 
Shall  I  flee  from  this  horrible  cow  ? 
I  will  sit  on  the  stile 
And  continue  to  smile, 

Which  may  soften  the  heart  of  this  cow." 


I  tell  you,  gentlemen,  the  heart  of  this  great  rebellion  cannot 
be  softened  by  smiles.  You  cannot  send  commissioners  to 
Richmond,  as  the  gentleman  from  New  York  ^  proposes,  to 
smile  away  the  horrible  facts  of  this  war.  Not  by  smiles,  but 
by  thundering  volleys,  must  this  rebellion  be  met,  and  by  such 
means  alone.  I  am  reminded  of  Macaulay's  paragraph  in 
regard  to  the  revolution  in  England :  — 

"  It  is  because  we  had  a  preserving  revolution  in  the  seventeenth  cen- 
tury that  we  have  not  had  a  destroying  revolution  in  the  nineteenth.  It 
is  because  we  had  freedom  in  the  midst  of  servitude  that  we  have  order 
in  the  midst  of  anarchy.  For  the  authority  of  law,  for  the  security  of 
property,  for  the  peace  of  our  streets,  for  the  happiness  of  our  homes, 
our  gratitude  is  due,  under  Him  who  raises  and  pulls  down  nations  at 
his  pleasure,  to  the  Long  Parliament,  to  the  Convention,  and  to  William 
of  Orange."  2 

Mr.  Speaker,  if  we  want  a  peace  that  is  not  a  hollow  peace, 
we  must  follow  that  example,  and  make  thorough  work  of  this 
war.  We  must  establish  freedom  in  the  midst  of  servitude,  and 
the  authority  of  law  in  the  midst  of  rebellion.  We  must  fill 
the  thinned  ranks  of  our  armies,  assure  them  that  a  grateful 
and  loving  people  are  behind  to  sanction  and  encourage  them, 
and  they  will  go  down  against  the  enemy  bearing  with  them 
the  majesty  and  might  of  a  great  nation.  We  must  follow  the 
march  of  the  army  with  a  free  and  loyal  population ;  we  must 

1  Mr.  Wood.  2  History  of  England,  Vol.  II.  p-  510  (Harper's  cd.,  1856). 


protect  that  population  by  the  strong  arm  of  military  power. 
The  war  was  announced  by  proclamation,  and  it  must  end  by 
proclamation.  We  can  hold  the  insurgent  States  in  military 
subjection  half  a  century  if  need  be,  until  they  are  purged  of 
their  poison,  and  stand  up  clean  before  the  country.  They 
must  come  back  with  clean  hands  if  they  come  at  all.  I  hope 
to  see  in  all  those  States  the  men  who  have  fought  and  suffered 
for  the  truth,  tilling  the  fields  on  which  they  pitched  their  tents. 
I  hope  to  see  them,  like  old  Kaspar  of  Blenheim,  on  the  sum- 
mer evenings,  with  their  children  upon  their  knees,  and  pointing 
out  the  spot  where  brave  men  fell  and  marble  commemorates  it. 
Let  no  breath  of  treason  be  whispered  there.  I  would  have  no 
man  there,  like  one  from  my  own  State,  who  came  to  the  army 
before  the  great  struggle  in  Georgia,  and  gave  us  his  views  of 
peace.  He  came  as  the  friend  of  Vallandigham,  the  man  for 
whom  the  gentlemen  on  the  other  side  of  the  House  from  my 
State  worked  and  voted.  We  were  on  the  eve  of  the  great 
battle.  I  said  to  him,  •*  You  wish  to  make  Mr.  Vallandigham 
Governor  of  Ohio.  Why?"  He  replied,  "Because,  in  the 
first  place,"  using  the  language  of  the  gentleman  from  New 
York,  "  you  cannot  subjugate  the  South,  and  we  propose  to 
withdraw  without  trying  it  Ipnger.  In  the  next  place,"  we  will 
have  nothing  to  do  with  this  Abolition  war,  nor  will  we  give 
another  man  or  another  dollar  for  its  support."  **  To-morrow," 
I  continued,  **  we  may  be  engaged  in  a  death-struggle  with  the 
rebel  army  that  confronts  us,  and  is  daily  increasing.  Where  is 
the  sympathy  of  your  party?  Do  you  want  us  beaten,  or  Bragg 
beaten?"  He  answered  that  they  had  no  interest  in  fighting, 
that  they  did  not  believe  in  fighting.  I  asked  him  further, 
"  How  would  it  affect  your  party  if  we  should  crush  the  rebels 
in  this  battle,  and  utterly  destroy  them  ?  "  "  We  would  probably 
lose  votes  by  it."  **  How  would  it  affect  your  party  if  we  should 
be  beaten?  "     **  It  would  probably  help  us  in  votes." 

That,  gentlemen,  is  the  kind  of  support  the  army  is  receiving 
in  what  should  be  the  house  of  its  friends.  That,  gentlemen,  is 
the  kind  of  support  these  men  are  inclined  to  give  this  country 
and  its  army  in  this  terrible  struggle.  I  hasten  to  make  honor- 
able exceptions.  I  know  there  are  honorable  gentlemen  on  the 
other  side  who  do  not  belong  to  that  category,  and  I  am  proud 
to  acknowledge  them  as  my  friends.  I  am  sure  they  do  not 
sympathize  with  these  efforts,  whose  tendency  is  to  pull  down  the 


fabric  of  our  government  by  aiding  their  friends  over  the  border 
to  do  it.  Their  friends^  I  say ;  for  when  the  Ohio  election  was 
about  coming  off,  in  the  army  at  Chattanooga  there  was  more 
anxiety  in  the  rebel  camp  than  in  our  own.  The  pickets  had 
talked  face  to  face,  and  the  rebels  made  daily  inquiry  how  the 
election  in  Ohio  was  going.  And  at  midnight  of  the  13  th  of 
October,  when  the  telegraphic  news  was  flashed  down  to  us,  and 
it  was  announced  to  the  army  that  the  Union  had  sixty  thousand 
majority  in  Ohio,  there  arose  a  shout  from  every  tent  along  the 
line  on  that  rainy  midnight,  which  rent  the  skies  with  jubilees, 
and  sent  despair  to  the  heart  of  those  who  were  **  waiting  and 
watching  across  the  border."  It  told  them  that  their  colleagues, 
their  sympathizers,  their  friends,  I  had  almost  said  their  emissa- 
ries, at  the  North,  had  failed  to  sustain  themselves  in  turning  the 
tide  against  the  Union  and  its  army.  And  from  that  hour,  but 
not  till  that  hour,  the  army  felt  safe  from  the  enemy  behind  it. 
Thanks  to  the  1 3th  of  October !  It  told  thirteen  of  my  colleagues 
that  they  had  no  constituencies.  I  deprecate  these  apparently 
partisan  remarks;  it  hurts  me  to  make  them;  but  it  hurts  me 
more  to  know  that  they  are  true.  I  would  not  make  them  but 
that  I  wish  to  unmask  the  pretext  that  these  men  are  in  earnest, 
and  laboring  for  the  vigorous  prosecution  of  the  war  and  the 
maintenance  of  the  government.  I  cannot  easily  forget  the 
treatment  which  the  conscription  bill  received  this  morning.^ 
Even  the  few  men  in  the  army  who  voted  for  Vallandigham 
wrote  on  the  back  of  their  tickets,  **  Draft!  draft!  "  But  their 
representatives  here  think  otherwise. 

I  conclude  by  returning  once  more  to  the  resolution  before 
us.  Let  no  weak  sentiments  of  misplaced  sympathy  deter  us 
from  inaugurating  a  measure  which  will  cleanse  our  nation  and 
make  it  the  fit  home  of  freedom  and  a  glorious  manhood.  Let 
us  not  despise  the  severe  wisdom  of  our  Revolutionary  fathers 
when  they  served  their  generation  in  a  similar  way.  Let  the 
republic  drive  from  its  soil  the  traitors  that  have  conspired 
against  its  life,  as  God  and  his  angels  drove  Satan  and  his  host 
from  heaven.  He  was  not  too  merciful  to  be  just,  and  to  hurl 
down  in  chains  and  everlasting  darkness  the  "  traitor  angel " 
who  **  first  broke  peace  in  heaven,"  and  rebelled  against  Him. 

^  See  the  following  Speech,  on  "Enrolling and  Calling  out  the  National  Forces," 
June  25, 1864. 

VOL.  1.  2 


On  the  9th  of  April,  1864,  in  reply  to  Mr.  Cox,  of  Ohio,  Mr.  Garfield 
made  these  remarks  :  — 

My  colleague  misrepresents  me  —  I  presume  unintentionally 
—  when  he  says  that  I  have,  on  two  occasions,  declared  my 
readiness  to  overleap  the  Constitution.  That  I  may  set  myself 
and  him  right  on  that  question,  I  will  say,  once  for  all,  that  I 
have  never  uttered  such  a  sentiment.  I  believe,  sir,  that  our 
fathers  erected  a  government  to  endure  forever;  that  they 
framed  a  Constitution  which  provided,  not  for  its  own  disso- 
lution, but  for  its  amendment  and  perpetuation.  I  believe  that 
that  Constitution  confers  on  the  executive  and  legislative  de- 
partments of  the  government  the  amplest  powers  to  protect 
and  defend  this  nation  against  all  its  enemies,  foreign  and  do- 
mestic ;  that  we  are  clothed  with  plenary  power  to  pursue  reb- 
els in  arms,  either  as  traitors,  to  be  convicted  in  the  courts  and 
executed  on  the  gallows,  or  as  public  enemies,  to  be  subjected 
to  the  laws  of  war  and  destroyed  on  the  battle-field.  We  are  at 
liberty  to  adopt  either  policy,  or  both,'  as  we  deem  most  expe- 
dient. But,  sir,  gentlemen  on  the  other  side  of  this  chamber 
profess  to  be  greatly  embarrassed  by  constitutional  restrictions. 
They  tell  us  that  the  Constitution  confers  upon  us  no  right  to 
coerce  a  rebellious  State ;  no  right  to  confiscate  the  property 
of  traitors ;  no  right  to  employ  black  men  in  the  military  ser- 
vice ;  no  right  to  suspend  the  writ  of  habeas  corpus  ;  no  right  to 
arrest  spies;  no  right  to  draft  citizens  to  fill  up  the  army;  in 
short,  no  right  to  do  anything  which  is  indispensably  necessary 
to  save  the  nation  and  the  Constitution.  It  was  in  answer  to 
such  claims  that  I  said,  in  substance,  if  all  these  things  were  so, 
I  would  fall  back  on  the  inalienable  right  of  self-preservation, 
and  overleap  the  barriers  of  the  Constitution ;  but  I  would  leap 
into  the  arms  of  a  willing  people,  who  made  the  Constitution, 
and  who  could,  in  the  day  of  dire  necessity,  make  other  weapons 
for  their  own  salvation.  The  nation  is  greater  than  the  work  of 
its  own  hands.  The  preservation  of  its  life  is  of  greater  mo- 
ment than  the  preservation  of  any  parchment,  however  replete 
with  human  wisdom.  I  desire  to  read  an  extract  from  an 
authority  which,  I  am  sure,  the  gentleman  will  acknowledge, 
Thomas  Jefferson.^  This  extract  states  more  ably  than  I  can 
the  very  doctrine  I  have  advocated. 

*  Here  Mr.  Garfield  read  from  a  letter  to  J.  B.  Colvin,  dated  September  20,  iSio^ 
which  may  be  found  in  Jefferson's  Works,  Vol.  V.  p.  542. 




June  25,  1864. 

The  first  call  for  troops  to  suppress  the  Southern  Rebellion  was  made 
on  April  15,  1861,  under  the  laws  authorizing  the  President  to  call  out 
the  militia  of  the  several  States  to  repel  invasion  and  to  suppress  insur- 
rection (especially  the  law. of  February  28,  1795).  July  22,  Congress 
authorized  the  President  to  accept  the  service  of  500,000  volunteers,  for 
a  period  not  exceeding  three  years  ;  and  shortly  after,  this  authorization 
was  duplicated.  Thus,  early  in  the  war  the  government  was  committed 
to  volunteering  as  the  means  of  filling  up  the  army.  To  stimulate  volun- 
teering, Congress  voted,  besides  pay  and  clothing,  a  bounty  of  ^loo  to 
each  volunteer  who  should  serve  two  years,  or  during  the  war  if  sooner 
ended.  As  the  war  went  on,  additional  inducements  were  offered,  some- 
times by  law  and  sometimes  by  order  of  the  War  Department.  A  short 
step  towards  putting  the  military  power  of  the  republic  more  fully  at  the 
disposal  of  the  government  was  taken  in  the  act  of  July  17,  1862,  which 
gave  the  President  fuller  control  of  the  militia  of  the  States.  August  4  of 
the  same  year,  the  President  called  for  300,000  militia  for  nine  months, 
and  directed  that  the  States  should  be  drafted  to  fill  up  their  quotas  if 
necessary.  March  3,  1863,  the  first  Enrolment  Act  was  passed.  This 
gave  the  President  power  to  draft,  but  several  classes  of  able-bodied 
male  citizens  were  exempted,  and  the  drafted  persons  had  the  option 
of  serving,  furnishing  an  accepted  substitute,  or  paying  a  commutation 
authorized  by  the  Secretary  of  War,  not  to  exceed  J300,  for  the  procu- 
ration of  a  substitute.  October  17,  1863,  300,000  men  were  called  for 
under  this  act.  On  the  ist  of  February,  1864,  a  further  draft  of  500,000 
men  was  ordered  ;  March  14,  another  draft  for  200,000.  The  frequency 
of  these  calls,  as  well  as  the  large  number  of  men  called  for  in  the  suc- 
cessive proclamations,  is  explained  in  great  degree  by  the  looseness  of 
the  act  of  March  3,  1 863,  according  to  which  large  numbers  of  men  com- 
petent for  military  service  were  exempted,  and  according  to  wliich  those 


actually  drafted  could  avoid  the  service  by  payment  of  the  commu- 
tation. Practically,  that  law  tended  to  fill  the  treasury  rather  than  the 
army;  and  it  was  called  a  financial  rather  than  a  military  measure. 
Its  operation  was  well  explained  by  Mr.  Garfield  in  some  remarks  made 
on  February  3,  1864  :  — 

"  I  wish  to  call  the  attention  of  the  committee  —  and  if  I  could  I 
would  address  my  remarks  only  to  those  who  are  in  favor  of  an  effective 
conscription  bill  of  some  sort  —  to  some  facts  in  relation  to  the  opera- 
tion of  the  existing  law.  I  will  state  in  a  few  sentences  the  direct  results 
of  that  law,  so  far  as  it  has  been  enforced. 

"  On  the  14th  day  of  December  last,  there  had  been  drawn  from  the 
wheel  in  the  late  draft  290,000  names.  Of  these,  73,000  were  exempted 
in  consequence  of  disability,  and  74,000  for  other  reasons,  as  laid  down 
in  the  second  section  of  the  present  conscription  law;  41,000  paid  com- 
mutation ;  24,000  furnished  substitutes ;  and  1 1 ,000  went  to  the  field. 
Several  thousand  more  were  thrown  out  as  having  been  improperly  en- 
rolled. Therefore  it  will  be  seen  that,  out  of  290,000  names  drawn  from 
the  wheel,  the  government  got  11,000  men  who  went  themselves,  and 
24,000  who  went  as  substitutes.  Look  at  the  result :  290,000  men 
placed  out  of  the  enrolment  list  for  three  years  to  come,  of  whom  only 
1 1,000  are  in  the  army!  How  many  men  would  you  get  at  that  rate 
fi-om  the  entire  enrolment  list  of  three  million?  If  the  entire  number 
were  drafted  to-morrow  under  the  present  law,  you  would  get  350,000 
men,  and  then  you  have  pledged  the  faith  of  the  government  that  for 
three  years  to  come  not  another  man  in  the  United  States  shall  be  com- 
pelled to  enter  the  military  service.  That  would  be  the  effect  of  the 
present  law  if  executed  in  full  to-morrow.  I  say  again,  that  under  that 
law  you  can  obtain  but  350,000  men  by  substitute  and  by  draft,  and 
then  you  will  have  forsworn  yourselves  against  calling  for  another  man  in 
the  United  States  for  the  army  by  any  compulsory  process." 

The  speculative  spirit  engendered  by  the  inflation  of  the  currency 
and  the  prodigal  expenditures  of  the  war  was  nowhere  more  prominent 
than  in  the  business  of  recruiting.  Congress  fostered  this  spirit  by  voting 
liberal  bounties,  and  the  War  Department  outran  Congress  by  offering 
bounties  without  the  authority  of  law.  In  the  mean  time  Congress  was 
struggling  with  the  difficulties  of  the  situation. \  December  3,  1863,  it 
was  provided  by  joint  resolution,  "  That  no  bounties,  except  such  as  are 
now  provided  by  law,  shall  be  paid  to  any  persons  enlisting  after  the  fifth 
day  of  January  next."  But  in  the  same  resolution  money  was  voted  to 
pay  the  unauthorized  bounties  up  to  that  time.  Then,  a  few  days  later, 
by  joint  resolution  (approved  January  13,  1864)  it  was  voted  to  extend 
the  time  for  which  these  high  bounties  shall  be  paid  to  the  first  day 
of  March.  Mr.  Garfield's  was  one  of  the  two  votes  cast  in  the  House 
against  this  resolution.     He  thus  explained  his  vote  :  — 


"  The  request  of  the  President  and  the  War  Department  was  to  con- 
tinue the  payment  of  bounties  until  the  ist  of  February  next ;  but  the 
resolution  before  the  House  proposes  to  extend  the  payment  until  the 
I  St  of  March.  And  while  the  President  asks  us  to  continue  the  payment 
of  bounties  to  veteran  volunteers  only,  this  resolution  extends  it  to  all 
volunteers,  whether  veterans  or  raw  recruits.  If  the  resolution  prevails, 
it  seems  to  me  we  shall  swamp  the  finances  of  the  government  before 
the  I  St  of  March  arrives.  I  cannot  consent  to  vote  for  a  measure  which 
authorizes  the  expenditure  of  so  vast  a  sum  as  will  be  expended  under 
this  resolution,  unless  it  be  shown  absolutely  indispensable  to  the  work 
of  filling  up  the  army.  I  am  anxious  that  veterans  shall  volunteer,  and 
that  bounties  be  paid  to  them.  But  if  we  extend  the  payment  to  all 
classes  of  volunteers  for  two  months  to  come,  I  fear  we  shall  swamp  the 
government.  Before  I  vote  for  this  resolution,  I  desire  to  know  whether 
the  government  is  determined  to  abandon  the  draft.  If  it  be  its  policy 
to  raise  an  army  solely  by  volunteering  and  paying  bounties,  we  have 
one  line  of  policy  to  pursue.  If  the  conscription  law  is  to  be  anything 
better  than  a  dead  letter  on  the  statute-book,  our  line  of  policy  is  a  very 

different  one I  am  sorry  to  see  in  tliis  resolution  the  indication 

of  a  timid  and  vacillating  course.  It  is  unworthy  the  dignity  of  our 
government  and  our  army  to  use  the  conscription  act  as  a  scarecrow, 
and  the  bounty  system  as  a  bait,  alternately  to  scare  and  coax  men  into 
the  army.  Let  us  give  liberal  bounties  to  veteran  soldiers  who  may 
re-enlist,  and  for  raw  recruits  use  the  draft." 

A  law  approved  on  February  24,  1864,  greatly  reduced  the  exemp- 
tions made  by  the  law  of  March,  1863,  and  narrowed  the  commutation 
clause ;  but  still  failed  to  meet  the  emergency.  While  Congress  was 
thus  halting  between  two  opinions,  and  the  army  was  on  the  point  of 
serious  reduction  through  the  expiration  of  enlistments,  President  Lin- 
coln himself  went  before  the  House  Military  Committee  and  stated  the 
pressing  necessity  for  men  to  take  the  places  of  those  whose  enlistments 
would  soon  expire.  He  asked  for  legal  power  to  draft  men  to  fill  the 
ranks.  A  bill  embodying  these  more  positive  ideas  was  introduced  into 
the  House  by  Mr.  Schenck  of  Ohio,  June  13,  1864.  The  House  still 
hesitated,  and  amendments  emasculating  the  bill  were  promptly  carried. 
Mr.  Garfield  protested  that  the  government  was  in  want  of  men,  and  not 
of  money ;  that  the  existing  law  had,  in  the  main,  failed  to  secure  the 
requisite  reinforcements ;  that  the  commutation  clause  of  the  enrolment 
act  could  not  be  retained,  and  the  army  be  filled  up  at  the  same  time. 
"This  Congress,"  said  he,  "must  sooner  or  later  meet  the  issue  face  to 
face,  and  I  beheve  the  time  will  soon  come,  if  it  has  not  now  come, 
when  we  nuist  give  up  the  war  or  give  up  the  commutation.  I  believe 
the  men  and  the  Congress  that  shall  finally  refuse  to  strike  out  the  com- 
mutation clause,  but  retain  it  in  its  full  force  as  it  now  is,  will  sub- 


stantially  vote  to  abandon  the  war.  And  I  am  not  ready  to  believe, 
I  will  not  believe,  that  the  Thirty-eighth  Congress  has  come  to  such  a 

Better  counsels  finally  prevailed.  Without  following  the  bill  of  June  13 
through  its  devious  history,  it  suffices  to  say  that  at  the  very  end  of  the 
session  an  efficient  law  passed,  bearing  the  tide,  "An  Act  further  to 
regulate  and  provide  for  the  enrolling  and  calling  out  the  National 
Forces,  and  for  other  Purposes,"  and  was  approved  July  4,  1864. 
Pending  this  bill,  Mr.  Garfield  delivered  the  following  speech. 

MR.  SPEAKER,  —  The  honorable  gentleman*  who  has  just 
taken  his  seat  has  seen  fit  to  refer  to  a  remark  which 
I  made  on  the  last  occasion  when  the  proposed  repeal  of  the 
commutation  clause  was  before  the  House.  I  do  not  think  he 
intended  to  misrepresent  me,  yet  he  did  so.  I  did  not  take  it 
upon  myself  to  criticise  the  individual  acts  or  votes  of  any  mem- 
ber of  this  House.  But,  sir,  it  is  my  right  to  animadvert  upon 
the  action  of  this  House  and  the  effects  of  its  policy.  This  right 
I  have  hitherto  used  in  such  manner  as  I  deemed  proper,  and 
while  I  have  the  honor  of  a  seat  in  this  body  I  shall  continue  to 
use  it.  On  that  occasion  I  did,  as  the  gentleman  states,  declare 
it  as  my  opinion  that  we  had  reached  a  point  in  the  progress  of 
events  where  we  must  decide,  to  repeal  the  commutation  clause 
or  give  up  the  successful  prosecution  of  the  war.  I  did  not 
then  believe,  nor  do  I  now  believe,  that  the  vote  then  taken 
was  such  a  decision ;  but  I  did  believe,  and  I  yet  believe,  that 
if  the  policy  indicated  by  that  vote  shall  be  persisted  in,  if  the 
commutation  clause  be  permanently  retained  in  the  law,  if 
no  more  efficient  law  be  passed  this  session  for  filling  up  our 
armies  and  supplying  the  waste  of  battle  and  disease,  the  rebel- 
lion cannot  be  put  down  during  the  lifetime  of  the  Thirty-eighth 
Congress.  I  go  further.  If  this  Congress  shall  leave  the  law 
as  it  now  stands,  and  the  next  Congress  repeats  the  folly,  I  do 
not  believe  the  rebellion  will  be  put  down  during  the  continu- 
ance of  the  next  Congress,  nor  at  all  while  the  incubus  of  com- 
mutation weighs  down  the  present  law.  In  my  judgment,  that 
clause  stands  directly  in  the  way  of  filling  up  our  armies. 

Mr.  Speaker,  it  has  never  been  my  policy  to  conceal  a  truth 
merely  because  it  is  unpleasant.     It  may  be  well  to  smile  in  the 

1  Mr.  Odell,  of  New  York. 


face  of  danger,  but  it  is  neither  well  nor  wise  to  let  danger 
approach  unchallenged  and  unannounced.  A  brave  nation,  like 
a  brave  man,  desires  to  see  and  measure  the  perils  which  threaten 
it  It  is  the  right  of  the  American  people  to  know  the  neces- 
sities of  the  republic  when  they  are  called  upon  to  make  sacri- 
fices for  it  It  is  this  lack  of  confidence  in  ourselves  and  the 
people,  this  timid  waiting  for  events  to  control  us  when  they 
should  obey  us,  that  makes  men  oscillate  between  hope  and 
fear,  —  now  in  the  sunshine  of  the  hilltops,  and  now  in  the 
gloom  and  shadows  of  the  valley.  To  such  men  the  morning 
bulletin  which  heralds  success  in  the  army  gives  exultation  and 
high  hope ;  the  evening  despatch  announcing  some  slight  dis- 
aster to  our  advancing  columns  brings  gloom  and  depression. 
Hope  rises  and  falls  by  the  accidents  of  war,  as  the  mercury  of 
the  thermometer  changes  by  the  accidents  of  heat  and  cold. 
Let  us  rather  take  for  our  symbol  the  sailor's  barometer,  which 
faithfully  forewarns  him  of  the  tempest,  and  gives  him  unerring 
promise  of  serene  skies  and  peaceful  seas. 

No  man  can  deny  that  we  have  grounds  for  apprehension  and 
anxiety.  The  unexampled  magnitude  of  the  contest,  the  enor- 
mous expenditures  of  the  war,  the  unprecedented  waste  of  battle, 
bringing  sorrow  to  every  loyal  fireside,  the  courage,  endurance, 
and  desperation  of  our  enemy,  the  sympathy  given  him  by  the 
monarchies  of  the  Old  World  as  they  wait  and  hope  for  our  de- 
struction, —  all  these  considerations  should  make  us  anxious  and 
earnest ;  but  they  should  not  add  one  hue  of  despair  to  the  face 
of  an  American  citizen,  —  they  should  not  abate  a  tittle  of  his 
heart  and  hope.  The  spectres  of  defeat,  bankruptcy,  and  repu- 
diation have  stalked  through  this  chamber,  evoked  by  those 
gentlemen  who  see  no  hope  for  the  republic  in  the  arbitra- 
ment of  war,  no  power  in  the  justice  of  our  cause,  no  peace 
made  secure  by  the  triumph  of  freedom  and  truth. 

Mr.  Speaker,  even  at  this  late  day  of  the  session,  I  will  beg 
the  indulgence  of  the  House  while  I  point  out  some  of  the 
grounds  of  our  confidence  in  the  final  success  of  our  cause, 
while  I  endeavor  to  show  that,  though  beset  with  danger,  we 
still  stand  on  firm  ground,  and  though  the  heavens  are  clouded, 
yet  above  storm  and  cloud  the  sun  of  our  national  hope  shines 
with  steady  and  undimmed  splendor.  History  is  constantly 
repeating  itself,  making  only  such  changes  of  programme  as 
the  growth  of  nations  and  centuries  requires.     Such  struggles 


as  ours,  and  far  greater  ones,  have  occurred  in  other  ages,  and 
their  records  are  written  for  us.  I  desire  to  refer  to  the  exam- 
ple of  our  kindred  across  the  sea,  in  their  great  struggles  at  the 
close  of  the  last  and  the  beginning  of  the  present  century,  to 
show  what  a  brave  nation  can  do  when  their  liberties  are  in  dan- 
ger and  their  national  existence  is  at  stake. 

There  were  two  periods  in  the  history  of  that  contest  when 
England  saw  darker  days  than  any  that  we  have  seen,  or,  I 
hope,  ever  shall  see.  Consider  her  condition  in  1797.  For  ten 
years  the  tide  of  mad  revolution  had  been  sweeping  over  Europe 
like  a  destroying  pestilence,  demolishing  thrones  and  principali- 
ties ;  and,  while  many  evils  were  swept  away,  chaos  and  anarchy 
were  left  in  its  track.  In  1792  France  declared  war  against  the 
world;  and  in  February,  1793,  specifically  declared  war  against 
England.  At  that  time  the  British  debt  was  $1,268,668,045, 
and  its  annual  interest  $45,225,304.  The  population  of  the 
United  Kingdom  was  less  than  twelve  millions,  including  Ire- 
land, — Ireland  then,  as  now,  "  the  tear  in  the  eye  of  Great  Brit- 
ain,"—  a  source  of  weakness  rather  than  strength.  The  spirit 
of  revolution  pervaded  the  kingdom  from  collieries  to  court. 
The  throne  distrusted  the  people,  and  the  people  were  jealous 
of' the  throne.  In  1794  the  Habeas  Corpus  Act  was  suspended, 
against  an  opposition  in  Parliament  more  determined  and  far 
abler  than  its  suspension  met  in  our  Congress  two  years  ago. 
In  1796  three  and  a  quarter  million  Catholics  in  Ireland  were 
organized  to  revolt  against  the  government,  to  be  aided  by  a 
French  fleet  of  forty  sail,  with  twenty-five  thousand  French  sol- 
diers on  board.  But  for  the  storm  which  dispersed  the  fleet,  the 
revolt  must  have  been  successful.  In  the  same  year  the  naval 
power  of  England  was  threatened  with  dissolution  by  a  wide- 
spread mutiny  in  the  fleet.  Ship  after  ship  deserted  the  fleet 
•off"  Cadiz  and  in  the  North  Sea.  The  Channel  fleet  ran  up  the 
red  flag  of  mutiny  from  almost  every  masthead,  and  was  drawn 
up  in  line  of  battle  across  the  mouth  of  the  Thames,  prepared 
to  sail  to  London  if  the  demands  of  the  mutineers  were  not 
acceded  to.  It  required  all  the  firmness  of  the  king  and  his 
government  to  save  the  city  and  the  navy.  In  1797,  oppressed 
with  financial  disaster,  the  Bank  of  England  suspended  specie 
payments,  and  paper  money  (an  immense  circulation  of  which 
crowded  the  country)  was  the  legal  currency  for  twenty-two 
years  thereafter.    In  that  fifth  year  of  the  war,  as  Alison  says,  — 


"  Everything  seemed  to  be  falling  at  once.  Their  armies  had  been 
defeated,  the  Bank  had  suspended  payment,  and  now  the  fleet,  the  pride 
and  glory  of  England,  appeared  on  the  point  of  deserting  the  national 

colors The  public  creditors  apprehended  the  speedy  dissolution 

of  government,  and  the  cessation  of  their  wonted  payments  from  the 
treasury.  Despair  seized  upon  the  boldest  hearts ;  and  such  was  the 
genera]  panic  that  the  three  per  cents  were  sold  as  low  as  forty-five,  after 
having  been  nearly  one  hundred  before  the  commencement  of  the  war. 
Never  during  .the  whole  contest  had  the  consternation  been  so  great^  and 
never  was  Britain  placed  so  near  the  verge  of  ruin."  ^ 

All  this  time  France,  with  frenzied  activity  and  enormous 
power,  was  dealing  her  deadly  blows.  In  Parliament  the  great 
Fox  was  leading  a  powerful  opposition  against  the  government. 
The  record  of  English  divisions  would  answer  for  our  own. 
Alison  says :  — 

"  So  violent  had  party  spirit  become,  and  so  completely  had  it  usurped 
the  place  of  patriotism  or  reason,  that  many  of  the  popular  leaders  had 
come  to  wish  anxiously  for  the  triumph  of  their  enemies.  It  was  no 
longer  a  simple  disapprobation  of  the  war  which  they  felt,  but  a  fervent 
desire  that  it  might  terminate  to  the  disadvantage  of  their  country,  and 
that  the  Republican  might  triumph  over  the  British  arms.  They  thought 
that  there  was  no  chance  of  Parliamentary  reform  being  carried,  or  any 
considerable  addition  to  democratic  power  acquired,  unless  the  ministry 
were  dispossfeed,  and,  to  accomplish  this  object,  they  hesitated  not  to 
betray  their  wish  for  the  success  of  the  inveterate  enemy  of  their  country. 
These  animosities  produced  their  usual  effect  of  rendering  the  moderate  or 
rational  equally  odious  to  both  parties ;  whoever  deplored  the  war  was  re- 
puted a  foe  to  his  country ;  whoever  pronounced  it  necessary  was  deemed 
a  conspirator  against  its  liberty,  and  an  abettor  of  arbitrary  power."  ^ 

Against  such  an  opposition  and  such  discouragements,  the 
like  of  which  we  have  not  yet  seen,  England,  with  a  brave  king, 
a  wise  ministry,  and  a  courageous  Parliament,  rose  to  the  level 
of  the  great  occasion,  passed  laws  both  for  volunteering  and 
draft,  filled  the  ranks  of  her  army  and  navy  to  more  than  three 
hundred  and  fifty  thousand  men,  poured  out  her  wealth  with  a 
lavish  hand,  renewed  the  great  contest,  and  continued  it,  not 
four  years,  but  five  times  four  years  longer. 

But  England  saw  darker  days  than  those  of  1797.  In  the 
beginning  of    181 2  Napoleon  had  risen  to  the  height  of  his 

*  History  of  Europe,  ist  ser.,  Vol.  IV.  p.  236  (Edinburgh  and  London,  i860). 
«  Ibid..  Vol.  IV.  p.  141. 


marvellous  power.  The  continent  of  Europe  was  at  his  feet. 
By  victorious  diplomacy  and  still  more  victorious  war  he  had 
founded  an  empire  which  seemed  to  defy  human  power  success- 
fully to  assail  it.  Every  coalition  against  him  had  been  broken, 
every  alliance  had  failed.  More  than  half  the  nations  of  Europe 
followed  his  conquering  eagles.  From  the  Vistula  to  the  pillars 
of  Hercules,  except  the  rocky  triangle  of  the  Torres -Vedras, 
where  Wellington  was  held  at  bay  by  five  times  his  number 
under  a  great  Marshal  of  France,  the  Continent  presented  an 
unbroken  front  against  England.  Russia  remained  in  frozen 
isolation,  a  spectator  of  the  contest.  Only  Prussia  and  Austria 
followed  the  lead  of  England.  Let  us  consider  her  condition  at 
this  second  crisis  of  her  fate. 

Her  population,  including  Ireland,  was  about  seventeen  millions. 
Her  debt  had  been  more  than  trebled  since  the  beginning  of  the 
war,  and  now  reached  the  enormous  sum  of  $4,ocx),ooo,ooo. 
Specie  payments  being  still  suspended,  her  paper  currency  was 
more  than  ever  expanded.  In  the  beginning  of  the  war,  she 
raised  from  her  mines  and  coined  about  $30,ooo,ocx)  in  gold. 
But  the  revolution  which  swept  over  South  America  had  stopped 
the  working  of  the  mines,  so  that  before  the  close  of  the  war 
the  annual  British  coinage  was  less  than  $12,000,000.  Her  navy 
was  crippled  by  the  war,  her  commerce  ruined  by  the  French 
Decrees  and  the  Non-importation  Act  of  the  United  States. 
Her  imports  exceeded  her  exports  by  $65,000,000,  and  the 
balance  was  paid  in  gold.  For  two  years  her  harvests  had 
failed,  and  in  1 812  she  paid  $21,000,000  in  gold  for  foreign 
grain  to  feed  her  people.  In  that  year  alone  her  exports  de- 
clined $140,000,000.  The  heavy  subsidies  to  her  allies  and  the 
payments  to  her  own  armies  on  the  Continent  were  in  gold. 
In  1 81 2  she  sent  $30,000,000  in  gold,  for  which  she  paid  thirty 
per  cent  premium,  to  Wellington's  army  in  the  Peninsula.  Her 
bonds  had  so  depreciated  that  a  loan  of  ;^6o  increased  her  debt 
;^ioo.  A  short  time  previous,  in  the  midst  of  increasing  dis- 
aster, the  reason  of  the  king  gave  way,  and  he  sat  a  lunatic  on 
the  throne  of  a  kingdom  which  seemed  ready  to  go  down  with 
him  in  the  general  ruin.  This  event  added  a  new  and  compli- 
cated question  to  the  distractions  of  Parliament,  and  gave  a  new 
weapon  to  the  opposition. 

It  is  not  necessary  for  my  present  purpose  to  inquire  whether 
justice  leaned  to  the  side  of  England  or  her  adversary.     It  is 


enough  to  know  that  she  believed  it  was  on  her  part  a  struggle 
for  self-existence  and  for  the  constitutional  liberty  of  the  world. 
Inspired  with  this  conviction,  she  stood  like  a  giant  at  bay ;  in 
high  debate  she  reasserted  the  justice  of  her  cause,  summoned 
anew,  not  the  frantic  energy  of  despair,  but  the  inexhaustible 
reserve  of  calm  Anglo-Saxon  courage,  the  unfathomed  resources 
of  English  faith  and  English  pluck  (a  proud  share  of  which  I 
trust  this  nation  has  inherited),  and  in  the  face  of  unexampled 
discouragement  and  appalling  disaster,  laying  under  contribu- 
tion all  the  resources  of  her  realm,  went  out  again  to  meet  the 
man  of  destiny,  whose  victories  were  numbered  by  hundreds, 
and  whose  eagles  were  followed  by  half  the  world.  Increasing 
both  taxes  and  loans,  she  raised  and  expended  for  that  year 
$550,ooo,ocx).  She  filled  her  navy  to  one  hundred  and  twenty- 
five  thousand  men,  and  before  the  year  had  ended  six  hundred 
and  forty-eight  thousand  men  were  arrayed  under  her  banners. 
Seconded  by  the  indomitable  spirit  of  her  people,  her  armies 
emerged  from  the  gloom  of  that  nineteenth  year  of  the  war, 
and,  marching  with  unfaltering  step  through  three  more  bloody 
years  and  the  carnage  of  Waterloo,  she  planted  her  victorious 
standards  on  the  battlements  of  Paris,  and  gave  peace  to 

And  can  we,  the  descendants  of  such  a  people,  with  such  a 
history  and  such  an  example  before  us,  —  can  we,  dare  we,  falter 
in  a  day  like  this?  Dare  we  doubt?  Should  we  not  rather  say, 
as  Bolingbroke  said  to  his  people  in  their  hour  of  peril:  **  Oh, 
woe  to  thee  when  doubt  comes !  it  blows  like  a  wind  from  the 
north,  and  makes  all  thy  joints  to  quake.  Woe,  indeed,  be  to 
the  statesmen  who  doubt  the  strength  of  their  country,  and 
stand  in  awe  of  the  enemy  with  whom  it  is  engaged  !  '* 

At  the  same  period,  one  of  the  greatest  minds  of  England  de- 
clared that  three  things  were  necessary  to  her  success :  — 

1.  To  listen  to  no  terms  of  peace  till  freedom  and  order  were 
established  in  Europe. 

2.  To  fill  up  her  army  and  perfect  its  organization. 

3.  To  secure  the  favor  of  Heaven  by  putting  away  forever  the 
crime  of  slavery  and  the  slave  trade. 

Can  we  learn  a  better  lesson?  Great  Britain  in  that  same 
period  began  the  work  which  ended  in  breaking  the  fetters  of 
all  her  bondmen.  She  did  maintain  her  armies  and  her  finances, 
and  she  did  triumph.     We  have  begun  to  secure  the  approval 


of  Heaven  by  doing  justice,  though  long  delayed,  and  securing 
to  every  human  being  in  this  republic  freedom  henceforth  and 

Mr.  Speaker,  it  has  long  been  my  settled  conviction  that  it 
was  a  part  of  the  Divine  purpose  to  keep  us  under  the  pressure 
and  grief  of  this  war  until  the  conscience  of  the  nation  should 
be  aroused  to  the  enormity  of  its  great  crime  against  the  black 
man,  and  full  reparation  should  be  made.  We  entered  the 
struggle,  a  large  majority  insisting  that  slavery  should  be  let 
alone,  with  a  defiance  almost  blasphemous.  Every  movement 
toward  the  recognition  of  the  negro's  manhood  was  resisted. 
Slowly,  and  at  a  frightful  cost  of  precious  lives,  the  nation  has 
yielded  its  wicked  and  stubborn  prejudices  against  him,  till  at 
last  blue  coats  cover  more  than  one  hundred  thousand  swarthy 
breasts,  and  the  national  banner  is  borne  in  the  smoke  of  battle 
by  men  lately  loaded  with  chains,  but  now  bearing  the  honors 
and  emoluments  of  American  soldiers.  Dare  we  hope  for  final 
success  till  we  give  them  the  full  protection  of  soldiers?  Like 
the  sins  of  mankind  against  God,  the  sin  of  slavery  is  so  great 
that  "  without  the  shedding  of  blood  there  is  no  remission." 
Shall  we  not  secure  the  favor  of  Heaven  by  putting  it  com- 
pletely away? 

Shall  we  not  fill  up  our  armies?  Shall  we  not  also  triumph? 
Was  there  in  the  condition  of  England  in  1812  a  single  element 
essential  to  success  which  we  do  not  possess  tc-day?  Observe 
the  contrast.  Her  population  was  less  than  seventeen  millions; 
ours  is  twenty-five  millions  in  the  loyal  States  alone.  Her  debt 
was  more  than  $4,000,000,000,  its  annual  interest  $161,000,000; 
our  debt  is  $1,720,000,000,  and  its  annual  interest  $71,000,000. 
The  balance  of  trade  was  $65,000,000  against  her;  in  1863  the 
balance  was  $79,621,872  in  our  favor.  She  bought  grain  from 
foreign  nations  to  feed  her  people ;  we  feed  our  own,  and  send 
an  immense  surplus  to  foreign  markets.  Her  mines  yielded  her 
twelve  or  fifteen  millions  of  bullion  annually;  ours  are  now 
yielding  $120,000,000  a  year.  More  than  half  of  all  her  pay- 
ments were  made  in  coin  purchased  at  a  heavy  premium ;  we  pay 
nothing  in  coin  but  $50,000,000  of  our  interest,  and  the  salaries 
of  our  ministers  and  consuls  abroad.  She  crossed  the  sea  to 
meet  her  enemy  on  foreign  soil ;  we  meet  ours  on  our  own  soil, 
in  a  country  that  has  been  ours  since  the  foundation  of  the 
republic.     She  fought  to  maintain  her  rank  among  the  nations 


of  Europe;  we  fight  to  maintain  our  existence  among  the 
nations  of  the  earth,  and  to  preserve  liberty  and  union  for 
ourselves  and  our  children's  children. 

If  the  example  of  England  fails  to  inspire  us,  let  us  not,  I  be- 
seech you,  forget  our  fathers  of  the  Revolution.  We  have  seen 
no  day  so  dark  as  were  whole  years  in  their  struggle.  We  have 
seen  no  captures  of  Philadelphia,  no  winter  quarters  at  Morris- 
town,  no  blood-stained  snow  at  Valley  Forge.  Out  of  a  popu- 
lation of  three  millions,  one  quarter  of  whom  adhered  to  the 
enemy,  they  sent  to  the  field  395,892  men,  —  one  for  every 
seven  women  and  children  in  the  States.  Were  we  to  double 
our  armies  to-day,  we  should  still  fall  far  behind  that  propor- 
tion. Who  can  compare  our  resources  with  theirs,  and  not 
blush  at  the  mention  of  failure,  the  suggestion  of  defeat?  Do 
we,  with  power  almost  unlimited,  with  resources  as  yet  un- 
touched, the  balance  of  trade  in  our  favor,  every  branch  of 
industry  flourishing,  and  everything  in  its  proper  place  except 
the  Congress  of  the  United  States,  —  do  we  talk  gloomily  of 
the  issue  of  this  contest?  I  believe,  sir,  that  the  worth  and 
manhood  of  a  nation  must  be  tried  by  the  same  standard  that 
tests  the  worth  and  manhood  of  individual  men.  We  can  never 
know  what  stuff  a  man  is  made  of  till  we  see  him  brought  face 
to  face  with  some  desperate  issue,  some  crisis  of  his  life  in 
which  he  must  peril  all  in  one  noble  effort,  or  shrink  ignobly 
away  into  the  coward's  oblivion.  If,  summoning  all  his  untried 
mankood,  and  flinging  into  the  scale  his  honor,  his  fortune,  and 
his  life,  he  goes  down  to  the  trial,  we  know  that  to  him  "  there  's 
no  such  word  as  fail."  So,  sir,  a  nation  is  not  worthy  to  be 
saved  if,  in  the  hour  of  its  fate,  it  will  not  gather  up  all  its 
jewels  of  manhood  and  life,  and  go  down  into  the  conflict,  how- 
ever bloody  and  doubtful,  resolved  on  measureless  ruin  or 
complete  success. 

"  Si  fractus  illabatur  orbis, 
Impavidum  fericnt  ruinae." 

But  no  ruin  awaits  such  a  nation.  The  American  people 
have  not  yet  risen  to  "the  height  of  the  great  argument,"  nor 
will  they  until  those  who  represent  them  here  are  ready  with 
unselfish  devotion  to  walk  in   the    rugged  path  that  leads  to 


If  we  will  not  learn  a  lesson  from  either  England  or  our  Rev- 
olutionary fathers,  let  us  at  least  learn  from  our  enemies.     I  have 


seen  their  gallantry  in  battle,  their  hoping  against  hope  amid 
increasing  disaster;  and,  traitors  though  they  are,  I  am  proud 
of  their  splendid  courage  when  I  remember  that  they  are 
Americans.  Our  army  is  equally  brave,  but  our  government 
and  Congress  are  far  behind  theirs  in  earnestness  and  energy. 
Until  we  go  into  war  with  the  same  desperation  and  abandon- 
ment which  mark  their  course,  we  do  not  deserve  to  succeed, 
and  we  shall  not  succeed.  What  have  they  done  ?  What  has 
their  government  done,  —  a  government  based,  in  the  first 
place,  on  extreme  State  rights  and  State  sovereignty,  but  which 
has  become  more  centralized  and  despotic  than  the  monarchies 
of  Europe?  They  have  not  only  called  for  volunteers,  but  they 
have  drafted.  They  have  not  only  drafted,  but  cut  off  both 
commutation  and  substitution.  They  have  gone  further.  They 
have  adopted  conscription  proper,  —  the  old  French  conscrip- 
tion of  1797,  —  and  have  declared  that  every  man  between 
sixteen  and  sixty  years  of  age  is  a  soldier.  But  we  stand  here 
bartering  money  for  blood,  debating  whether  we  will  fight  the 
enemies  of  the  nation  or  pay  three  hundred  dollars  into  its 

Mr.  Speaker,  with  this  brief  review  of  the  grounds  of  our  hope, 
I  now  ask  your  attention  to  the  main  proposition  in  the  bill 
before  the  House,  the  repeal  of  the  commutation  clause.  Going 
back  to  the  primary  question  of  the  power  to  raise  armies,  I 
lay  it  down  as  a  fundamental  proposition,  as  an  inherent  and 
necessary  element  of  sovereignty,  that  a  nation  has  a  right  to 
the  personal  service  of  its  citizens.  The  stability  and  power 
of  every  sovereignty  rest  upon  that  basis.  Why  can  the 
citizen  claim  the  protection  of  the  government  ?  Because 
rights  and  duties  are  reciprocal,  and  the  government  owes  him 
protection  only  as  he  gives  sanction  and  power  to  the  law  by 
his  personal  service  and  the  contribution  of  his  wealth.  Hence, 
in  the  name  of  law,  he  can  demand  protection.  Hence  also,  in 
the  name  of  law,  his  government  can  demand  a  contribution 
from  his  purse  and  his  personal  service.  There  are  two  great 
muscles  that  move  the  arm  of  sovereignty,  —  the  treasury  and 
the  army.  If  a  nation  has  the  right  to  protect  itself,  it  must 
have  the  right  to  use  these  two  powers.  It  may,  therefore,  take 
money  from  the  citizen  in  accordance  with  the  forms  of  law. 
It  may  take  every  dollar  of  every  citizen,  if  so  much  should  be 
necessary,  in  order  to  support  and  maintain  the  government. 


And  if  the  nation  has  the  right  to  the  citizen's  money,  has  it 
not  equally  the  right  to  his  personal  service?  Coercion  accom- 
panies the  tax-gatherer  at  every  step.  The  law  of  revenue  rests 
upon  coercion.  Without  that  same  coercive  power  no  govern- 
ment could  put  a  soldier  into  the  .field.  As  well  might  we 
claim  that  the  legal  basis  of  the  treasury  is  the  contribution- 
box,  as  that  the  legal  basis  of  the  army  is  the  volunteering 

I  go  a  step  further.  Every  nation  under  heaven  claims  the 
right  to  order  its  citizens  into  the  ranks  as  soldiers.  Great  Brit- 
ain has  always  held  that  power  behind  her  volunteering  system. 
In  1798  she  made  a  law,  first  to  offer  bounties  to  volunteers,  and 
then  to  draft  her  enrolled  citizens  into  the  army.  No  such 
thing  as  commutation  was  known.  Gentlemen  talk  as  though 
the  right  to  pay  three  hundred  dollars  in  lieu  of  personal  service 
was  one  of  the  inalienable  rights  guaranteed  to  us  by  the  Con- 
stitution. They  forget  that  until  the  3d  of  March,  1863,  there 
was  never  known  in  this  country  such  a  thing  as  paying  money 
in  lieu  of  personal  service.  England  never  indeed  had  a  con- 
scription, but  she  did  provide  for  a  draft.  Under  the  law  of 
1798,  she  raised  her  militia  for  local  purposes,  and  drafted  from 
the  militia  into  the  regular  army  in  the  field. 

Let  us  look  for  a  moment  at  our  own  history  in  regard  to 
this  subject.  How  were  the  three  hundred  and  ninety-five 
thousand  men  raised  for  the  war  of  the  Revolution?  Every 
Colony  had  laws  for  calling  out  its  militia  and  compelling  them 
to  serve.  By  a  statute  of  Maryland  a  citizen  was  liable  to  a 
fine  of  ;^io,ooo  for  a  refusal  to  obey  the  command  when 
ordered  into  the  field.  By  a  statute  of  Massachusetts  as  early 
as  1693,  severe  punishments  were  provided  for  those  who  re- 
fused to  turn  out  for  military  duty  when  ordered.  The  spirit 
of  personal  independence  and  the  protection  of  individual 
rights  were  at  least  as  carefully  guarded  by  the  founders  of  the 
republic  as  they  are  by  this  generation,  and  yet  they  never 
doubted  the  power  of  the  States  to  compel  the  citizen  to  serve 
in  the  field.  It  makes  no  matter  whether  it  be  done  by  the 
President,  or  the  government  of  a  State,  the  same  principle  is 

I  affirm  again  that  every  one  of  the  States  raised  men  by 
draft.  It  was  a  presumed  common  law  right.  The  Constitution 
of  the  United  States  recognizes  the  same  principle  by  declaring 


that  "  Congress  shall  have  power  to  provide  for  calling  forth 
the  militia  to  execute  the  laws  of  the  Union,  suppress  insur- 
rections, and  repel  invasions  " ;  *  and  on  the  29th  of  September, 
1789,  an  act  was  approved  (the  second  military  law  under  the 
Constitution),  giving  to  the  President  full  power  to  call  forth 
the  militia  to  protect  the  frontiers  against  the  Indians.  That 
law  was  extended  by  the  act  of  May  2,  1792,  so  as  to  give  him 
the  power  to  send  the  militia  beyond  the  limits  of  their  States. 
By  the  act  of  February  28,  1795,  his  power  was  still  further  ex- 
tended, and  a  heavy  penalty  was  affixed  for  disobedience  of  the 
law.  In  the  case  of  Houston  v,  Moore,^  and  also  in  Martin  v, 
Mott,^  the  Supreme  Court  decided  that  the  law  is  constitutional, 
and  that  the  President  has  the  constitutional  power  to  compel 
a  citizen  to  do  military  duty.  In  the  war  of  18 12  the  President 
called  on  the  States  for  troops,  and  when  a  sufficient  number 
did  not  volunteer  they  were  obtained  by  draft.  In  1839,  when 
the  dispute  occurred  between  this  country  and  England  in  refer- 
ence to  the  boundaries  of  the  State  of  Maine,  a  law  was  passed 
(March  3,  1839)  authorizing  the  President  to  call  forth  one 
hundred  thousand  men  for  six  months,  a  period  double  the 
length  allowed  by  former  laws.  Again,  the  draft  law  in  the  war 
of  18 1 2  allowed  substitutes,  but  not  commutation.  The  bill  be- 
fore us  permits  drafted  men  to  obtain  substitutes,  but  not  to  pay 
commutation.  I  say,  then,  since  the  beginning  of  the  govern- 
ment,—  still  further,  since  the  beginning  of  the  Revolution, — 
still  further,  since  the  founding  of  the  Colonies,  —  the  right  of 
sending  citizens  into  the  military  service  has  been  repeatedly 
asserted  and  exercised;  and  up  to  the  3d  of  March,  1863,  such 
a  thing  as  a  payment  of  money  in  lieu  of  military  service  was 
never  known  in  this  country.  Gentlemen  must,  therefore, 
abandon  the  claim  that  in  repealing  this  clause  we  are  interfer- 
ing with  immemorial  usage  and  inalienable  rights.  Even  the 
law  of  1863  did  not  regard  the  three  hundred  dollars  as  an 
equivalent  for  military  service.  It  provided  that  the  three  hun- 
dred dollars  should  be  paid  "  for  the  procuration  of  a  substi- 
tute," and  was  supposed  to  be  a  sum  sufficient  for  that  purpose. 
It  is  now  far  from  sufficient,  and  the  law  is  even  more  unjust 
than  at  first.  If  the  three  hundred  dollars  would  always  pro- 
cure a  substitute,  the  military  service  would  not  suffer  by  retain- 
ing the  clause. 

*  Art.  I.  Sect.  8.  «  5  Wheaton's  Reports,  i.  •12  Ibid.  19. 


But  what  are  the  facts  ?  The  President,  the  Secretary  of  War, 
our  own  knowledge  of  affairs,  tell  us  that,  if  it  be  retained,  it 
will  be  impossible  to  fill  the  places  of  the  eighty-five  thousand 
hundred-days  men  who  will  go  out  of  service  in  a  few  weeks, 
and  of  the  three-years  regiments  whose  terms  of  service  are 
every  day  expiring.  Moreover,  we  must  allow  something  for 
the  waste  of  battle,  the  waste  of  disease,  and  all  the  incidents  of 
war.  And  now,  while  our  armies  are  advancing  gloriously, 
while  our  campaigns  are  prosperous,  while  there  is  no  immedi- 
ate cause  for  alarm,  let  us  look  into  the  future  and  provide  for 
its  emergencies,  let  us  hold  up  the  hands  of  the  President  and 
remove  this  obstacle  from  the  law,  as  he  recommends.  Gentle- 
men doubt  what  the  people  will  say  and  how  they  will  feel.  I 
have  learned  that  the  people  are  braver  than  their  representa- 
tives. I  would  much  sooner  take  counsel  of  the  American 
people,  arid  especially  the  American  army,  than  of  their  repre- 
sentatives when  an  election  is  at  hand.  Would  to  God  there 
were  no  Presidential  election  to  cast  its  shadow  over  this  battle 
summer,  and  no  Congressional  elections  overshadowing  this 
House!  Perhaps  we  might  then  see  with  clearer  vision  the 
interests  of  the  country,  and  strike  toward  them  with  bolder 
hands.  This  I  do  know,  that  the  loyal  people  have  laid  up  a 
great  oath  on  the  altar  that  they  will  never  rest  till  the  rebellion 
is  overthrown,  and  they  will  take  all  necessary  means  to  hew 
their  way  through  to  this  purpose.  I  know  that  the  people 
whom  I  represent  have  united  their  destiny  with  the  destiny  of 
the  Union,  and  will  share  its  fortunes,  whatever  betide  it.  I 
have  not  asked  them,  but  I  believe  they  will  respond  cheerfully 
to  this  measure.  But  whatever  they  may  do,  I  shall  strive  to 
remove  all  obstacles  to  the  increase  of  the  army. 

I  ask  gentlemen  who  oppose  this  repeal,  why  they  desire  to 
make  it  easy  for  citizens  to  escape  from  military  duty.  Is  it 
a  hardship  to  serve  one's  country?  Is  it  disgraceful  service? 
Will  you,  by  your  action  here,  say  to  the  soldiers  in  the  field, 
"  This  is  disreputable  business ;  you  have  been  deceived ;  you 
have  been  caught  in  the  trap,  and  we  will  make  no  law  to  put 
anybody  else  in  it?"  Do  not  thus  treat  your  soldiers  in  the 
field.  They  are  proud  of  their  voluntary  service ;  and  if  there 
be  one  wish  of  the  army  paramount  to  all  others,  one  message 
more  earnest  than  any  other  which  they  send  back  to  you,  it  is 
that  you  will  aid  in  filling  their  battle-thinned  ranks  by  a  draft 

VOL.  I.  3 


that  will  compel  lukewarm  citizens  who  prate  against  the  war 
to  go  into  the  field.  They  ask  not  that  you  will  expend  large 
bounties  in  paying  men  of  third-rate  patriotism,  while  they  went 
with  no  other  bounty  than  that  love  of  country  to  which  they 
gave  their  young  lives  a  free  offering,  but  that  you  will  compel 
these  eleventh-hour  men  to  take  their  chances  in  the  field 
beside  them.  Let  us  grant  their  request,  and  by  a  steady  and 
persistent  effort  we  shall  in  the  end,  be  it  near  or  remote,  be  it 
in  one  year  or  ten,  crown  the  nation  with  victory  and  enduring 



February  i8  and  March  15, 1864. 

On  the  i8th  of  Februaiy^  1864^  a  joint  resolution  was  reported  to  the 
House  from  the  Committee  of  Ways  and  Means,  authorizing  the  Secretary 
of  the  Treasury  from  time  to  time,  at  his  discretion,  to  sell  any  gold  coin 
in  the  treasury  over  and  above  the  amount  which,  in  his  opinion,  might 
be  required  by  the  government  for  the  payment  of  interest  on  the  public 
debt.  Mr.  Garfield  made  the  following  remarks,  the  first  that  he  made 
upon  a  financial  subject  in  the  House  of  Representatives. 

MR.  SPEAKER,  —  I  propose  to  detain  the  House  but  a 
few  moments  on  the  question  before  it,  as  all  I  wish  is  to 
state,  as  clearly  as  possible,  the  conditions  of  the  proposition  as 
they  exist  in  the  resolution. 

By  the  present  law  gold  can  come  into  the  treasury  of  the 
United  States  through  the  customs  and  various  other  avenues. 
But  there  is  only  one  avenue  by  which  it  goes  out,  namely,  the 
payment  of  the  interest  on  the  public  debt.  There  was  in  the 
treasury  on  Saturday  last  $18,900,000  in  gold.  It  is  coming 
into  the  treasury  at  the  rate  of  four  or  five  hundred  thousand 
dollars  a  day ;  at  the  lowest  estimate  it  is  four  hundred  thou- 
sand dollars.  If  this  rate  continues  until  the  ist  of  July  next, 
we  shall  have  $74,107,213. 

Mr.  Boutwell.  I  wish  to  ask  the  gentleman  whether  the  Secretary  of 
the  Treasury,  in  his  estimate  of  the  receipts  and  expenditures  for  the 
fiscal  year  1864-65,  does  not  show  that  our  interest  account,  which  is  to 
be  met  by  the  payment  of  specie,  will  exceed  ^85,000,000,  while  our  re- 
ceipts through  the  custom-house  will  amount  to  but  ^70,000,000,  showing 
a  deficiency  for  the  fiscal  year  1864-65  of  ;$  15,000,000, 

I  should  have  answered  the  gentleman  in  my  next  sentence 
had  he  not  interrupted  me.     The  Secretary  of  the  Treasury  re- 


ports  that  there  will  become  due  at  various  times,  ending  with 
the  1st  of  July  next,  $23,601,943,  to  be  paid  in  gold.  That  is 
every  dollar  of  coin  which  the  treasury  of  the  United  States 
will  be  obliged  to  pay  up  to  that  time.  Now,  there  will  remain 
a  surplus  in  the  treasury,  on  the  basis  of  the  present  receipts, 

—  and  the  receipts  have  greatly  exceeded  the  estimates,  —  on 
the  1st  of  July  next,  of  $50,505,270,  and,  according  to  the  pres- 
ent practice  of  the  government,  no  disposition  of  it  will  be 

Mr.  Fernando  Wood.  I  desire  to  ask  the  gentleman  upon  what  basis* 
or  upon  what  data,  he  estimates  the  receipts  of  gold  from  the  custom- 
house, or  any  other  sources,  up  to  the  ist  of  July  next 

The  estimates  are  based  upon  what  we  have  been  receiving 
for  several  months  past,  and  the  fact  that  the  months  immedi- 
ately to  come  are  always  better  than  the  winter  months.  I  base 
the  estimates  upon  what  we  have  been  receiving  from  day  to 
day  for  many  weeks.  These  estimates  may  be  too  large,  but 
that  would  not  alter  the  principle  involved.  No  one  doubts 
that  there  will  be  a  surplus. 

I  say,  then,  that  by  taking  the  average,  or  a  sum  rather  below 
the  present  average,  —  and  we  have  every  indication  that  the 
average  will  rather  increase  than  decrease  in  the  coming  months, 

—  wc  shall  have  on  the  ist  of  July  $50,500,000  in  gold  in  the 
treasury,  with  no  law  for  paying  it  out.  Now,  what  is  the  re- 
sult? There  is,  probably,  according  to  the  estimates  of  gentle- 
men, scattered  through  the  country  in  the  feet  of  old  stockings, 
locked  up  in  trunks,  put  away  in  bureaus,  laid  away  under  the 
heads  of  beds  and  in  vaults  of  banks,  $200,000,000  of  gold.  I 
suspect  that  to  be  a  large  estimate,  judging  from  the  statements 
of  trade. 

Now,  sir,  on  the  ist  of  July  next  one  quarter  of  all  the  gold  in 
the  United  States  will  be  locked  up  in  the  vaults  of  the  United 
States  Treasury,  and  lying  there  as  dead  matter.  Every  dollar 
that  goes  in  there  leaves  the  amount  in  circulation  a  dollar  less, 
raises  the  price  of  gold,  disturbs  the  market,  and  disgraces  our 
credit;  and  yet,  because  it  is  locked  up  in  the  treasury,  and  we 
will  not  pass  a  law  sending  it  out,  our  credit  must  go  down  and 
down,  further  and  further,  as  Mr.  Lamar  and  his  coadjutors  in 
the  Rebel  States  desire  it  shall  go  down,  and  as  his  coadjutors 
in  the  Northern  States  seem  to  desire  it  shall  go  down.     They 


are  talking  in  the  most  anxious  manner  here — witness  the  last 
speech  to  which  we  have  listened  —  of  returning  to  a  specie 
basis.  Do  not  gentlemen  upon  this  floor  know  that  no  great 
war  was  ever  waged  in  modern  times  with  specie?  It  is  one  of 
the  settled  and  inevitable  laws  of  trade,  that  great  wars  must  be 
conducted  with  a  paper  currency,  and  not  with  gold. 

Now,  why  do  we  ask  that  this  great  amount  of  capital  shall 
be,  from  time  to  time,  liberated?  For  the  best  reason  in  the 
world.  Generally  I  would  not  interfere  with  the  laws  of  trade ; 
they  are  as  immutable  as  the  laws  of  nature ;  but  I  would  now 
interfere  with  them  because  they  are  not  in  a  natural  and  normal 
condition ;  they  are  in  a  condition  superinduced  by  the  necessi- 
ties of  war,  and  it  is  to  counteract  this  abnormal  state  of  trade 
that  we  are  disposed  to  let  loose  this  gold  so  as  to  keep  up  the 
credit  of  the  government.  What  has  so  changed  the  character 
of  gold?  It  is  hardly  to  be  called  the  representative  of  value; 
it  is  fast  becoming  a  commodity,  instead  of  a  medium  of  ex- 
change ;  and  if  the  war  continues  very  much  longer  it  will  be 
merely  a  commodity,  and  not  a  circulating  medium.  It  is  well 
known  that,  when  paper  currency  comes  into  general  use,  it 
expels  gold,  and  that  such  is  its  natural  tendency.  Our  gold  is 
scattered  over  the  border,  driven  to  Canada,  sent  abroad,  and 
the  amount  actually  in  use  in  the  business  of  the  country  is  so 
small  that,  if  we  reduce  it  by  locking  up  $50,000,000  in  the 
vaults  of  the  treasury,  we  shall  create  a  panic  that  will  ruin  the 
business  of  the  country. 

The  gentleman  from  Ohio  ^  has  offered  an  amendment,  that 
this  surplus  shall  be  paid  to  the  soldiers  in  the  field.  I  remem- 
ber the  political  capital  that  some  gentlemen  on  the  other  side 
of  the  House  attempted  to  make  on  the  subject  of  paying  sai- 
lors and  soldiers  in  coin ;  and  I  remember  a  remark  which  was 
made,  and  which  what  I  see  in  the  galleries  this  morning  almost 
prohibits  me  from  repeating,  but  that  a  sense  of  justice  requires 
that  I  should  repeat.  It  was  charged  on  the  other  side  of  the 
House,  that,  if  we  did  not  pay  our  sailors  and  soldiers  in  gold, 
their  wives  would  become  prostitutes.  I  stood  here  as  a  man 
abashed ;  I  stood  amazed  and  ashamed  that  I  belonged  to  a 
body  in  which  such  an  utterance  could  be  made  about  the  loyal 
women  of  this  country. 

Every  gentleman  upon  this  floor  knows  well  that  it  is  impos- 

1  Mr.  Long. 


sible  now  to  return  to  a  specie  basis.  Every  man  who  has 
looked  into  the  condition  of  the  country  knows  that  it  is  impos- 
sible, without  utter  prostration  and  ruin,  to  attempt  to  return  to 
a  specie  basis  at  this  time.  It  becomes  us,  then,  to  use  the  gold 
that  we  have  to  keep  up  the  credit  of  the  country,  and  not  to 
destroy  it ;  and  I  do  not  propose  to  be  deterred  by  references 
to  all  those  laws  and  resolutions  that  have  been  passed  hitherto 
in  regard  to  the  policy  of  the  country. 

I  am  not  in  such  unfortunate  circumstances  as*  the  gentleman 
from  New  York  *  who  has  just  spoken.  I  am  under  no  pres- 
sure from  any  quarter,  from  any  particular  source,  from  any 
particular  person ;  I  am  under  no  instructions  from  any  man, 
in  office  or  out  of  office,  how  to  vote,  think,  or  act  upon  this 
subject  I  have  not  been  honored  with  that  pressure,  and  I 
am  therefore  free  to  act  as  it  seems  to  me  the  pressure  of  the 
country  and  its  interests  require;  and  I  ask  gentlemen  now 
whether  they  are  willing  to  help  to  carry  out  the  scheme  of 
Lamar,  of  Georgia,  to  help  to  reduce  the  value  of  our  paper 
currency,  until  we  shall  be  ruined,  as  the  Southern  Confederacy 
is  being  ruined,  by  its  finances,  rather  than  by  its  battles. 

There  are  two  elements  which  decide  the  question  of  war. 
One  is  military,  the  other  is  financial.  The  man  who  destroys 
the  finances  of  a  country  ruins  it  as  thoroughly  as  he  who  de- 
stroys its  army.  It  becomes  us,  therefore,  while  we  replenish 
our  armies  on  the  one  hand,  to  maintain  the  credit  of  the  treas- 
ury on  the  other.  For  that  purpose  I  believe  this  measure  is 
wise.  I  know  it  ought  to  be  guarded;  and  any  amendment 
that  will  make  it  more  carefully  worded,  and  that  will  protect  us 
from  all  chances  of  fraud  or  corruption  on  the  part  of  govern- 
ment officials,  I  shall  be  glad  to  vote  for.  But  I  am  unwilling 
that  we  should  defeat  the  purpose  of  the  resolution,  and  lock  up 
this  money,  on  the  old  idea  that  money  locked  in  vaults  is  as 
good  as  money  in  circulation. 

On  the  15th  of  March  following,  the  measure  having  been  to  the  Sen- 
ate and  returned  to  the  House,  Mr.  Garfield  made  these  remarks.  As 
finally  adopted  and  approved,  the  joint  resolution  authorized  the  Secre- 
tary of  the  Treasury  to  anticipate  the  payment  of  interest,  and  to  "  dis- 
pose of  any  gold  in  the  treasury  not  necessary  for  the  payment  of  inter- 

1  Mr.  Brooks. 


est  on  the  public  debt/'  provided  the  obligation  to  create  the  sinking  fund 
should  not  be  impaired. 

Mr.  Speaker,  —  I  design  to  detain  the  House  but  a  few 
minutes  with  what  I  have  to  say  on  this  subject ;  but  I  wish  to 
state  what  seems  to  me  the  present  condition  of  the  question. 
There  have  been  so  many  things  said,  we  have  wandered  so  far 
from  the  proposition  before  the  House,  that  I  wish  to  restate 
the  question  as  it  now  lies  before  us. 

This  House  passed  a  joint  resolution  authorizing  the  Secre- 
tary of  the  Treasury  to  dispose  of  the  surplus  gold  by  antici- 
pating the  payment  of  interest  on  the  public  debt.  There  were 
two  principal  reasons  assigned  why  we  should  dispose  of  this 
gold :  first,  that  it  was  accumulating  on  our  hands  faster  than 
we  had  any  legal  means  of  using  it;  and  secondly,  that,  by 
thus  accumulating,  it  was  causing  a  continually  increasing  strin- 
gency in  the  gold  market,  with  a  consequent  rise  of  price.  It 
seemed  therefore  just,  that,  as  by  law  we  had  interfered  with 
the  gold  market,  we  should  by  law  provide  for  curing  that 
interference.  We  all  recognize  the  fact,  that,  if  gold  continues 
to  advance,  it  very  much  injures,  not  only  the  people  at  large, 
but  also  the  government  and  its  securities.  It  has  been  proved 
by  more  accurate  statistics  than  we  had  before  us  on  the  8th 
of  March,  when  the  House  acted  on  this  matter,  that  by  the 
17th  of  July  next  there  will  be  nearly  thirty  million  dollars  of 
surplus  gold  in  the  treasury.  That  has  been  tested  by  the  most 
careful  estimates  possible,  not  only  here,  but  in  the  other  wing 
of  the  Capitol. 

Now,  Mr.  Speaker,  three  ways  for  returning  this  gold  into  the 
general  circulation  have  been  proposed.  The  first  is  by  direct 
sale,  —  the  proposition  that  comes  to  us  from  the  Senate. 
The  second  is  by  anticipating  the  payment  of  interest.  And 
the  third  is  by  creating  a  sinking  fund,  as  already  provided 
for  by  law.  As  to  the  second  and  third,  I  have  only  a  word 
to  say. 

To  create  a  sinking  fund  as  provided  by  law  is  at  present  sim- 
ply an  absurdity.  I  see  no  wisdom  in  buying  up  the  bonds  of 
the  government  when  we  are  now  borrowing  $2,cxx),cxx)  a  day 
to  meet  our  current  expenses.  It  makes  the  government  enact 
the  farce  of  borrowing  money  of  itself.  It  is  true  that  we  are 
required  by  law  to  create  a  sinking  fund,  but  no  one  can  charge 


us  with  a  breach  of  faith  if  we  refrain  from  creating  such  a 
fund  while  we  are  still  borrowing.  We  can  repeal  that  law  alto- 
gether without  any  violation  of  the  faith  of  the  country. 

Now,  suppose  we  anticipate  the  interest  on  the  public  debt, 
with  or  without  rebate,  as  provided  by  the  original  bill  which 
passed  this  House  on  the  8th  instant.  Everybody  knows  that 
no  man  would  receive  prepayment  and  allow  an  abatement  of 
interest.  Why?  Money  in  the  New  York  market  is  now  worth 
but  little  more  than  five  per  cent,  and  of  course  no  man  will 
call  in  his  money  drawing  a  larger  rate  of  interest  and  immedi- 
ately reinvest  it  at  a  lower  rate.  Therefore  we  may  as  well 
dismiss  from  our  minds  any  hope  that  we  can  get  a  rebate  by 
anticipating  the  interest  on  our  bonds ;  and  the  proposition  to 
undertake  to  pay  our  debts  before  they  are  due,  while  at  the 
same  time  we  are  borrowing  money  to  pay  debts  overdue,  is  so 
absurd  that  a  plain  statement  of  it  is  its  best  refutation. 

Another  objection  to  the  bill  as  it  passed  the  House  is,  that 
the  remedy  is  inadequate  to  meet  the  difficulty  we  seek  to  ob- 
viate. If  we  conclude  to  anticipate  the  payment  of  interest,  the 
process  will  be  so  slow  as  to  have  no  appreciable  effect  upon 
the  gold  market  It  takes  weeks  to  make  the  small  monthly 
payments  of  interest  as  they  become  due ;  and  if  we  undertake 
to  pay  them  before  they  are  due,  the  process  will  be  still  slower, 
and  will  utterly  fail  to  bring  down  the  price  of  gold.  Let  me 
read  an  extract  from  one  of  the  daily  journals,  published  the 
morning  after  the  passage  of  the  bill  by  the  House,  showing 
how  it  was  regarded  by  the  commercial  men  of  New  York.  I 
read  from  the  New  York  Commercial  Advertiser,  of  March  9th. 

"  After  four  o'clock,  the  news  of  the  passage  of  Mr.  Boutwell's  gold 
bill  reached  the  market.  The  bill  merely  authorizes  the  Secretary  of 
the  Treasury  to  anticipate  the  payment  of  interest  on  the  public  debt 
from  time  to  time,  with  or  without  a  rebate  of  interest  upon  the  coupons, 
as  to  him  may  seem  expedient.  In  this  amended  form  it  passed,  ninety 
against  thirty-four,  —  a  very  strong  vote,  •  which  seems  to  fvyi  the  policy 
of  Congress.  This  amounts  to  nothing  in  the  way  of  relief,  since  it  is  of 
no  practical  value  whether  the  ^3,000,000  due  on  the  ist  of  April,  and 
the  ^15,000,000  due  on  the  ist  of  May,  are  begun  to  be  paid  now  or 
then.  It  will  take  a  month  at  least  to  pay  the  1815,000,000.  When 
;S6,ooo,ooo  was  due  on  November  ist,  it  required  the  whole  month  to 
complete  the  payments,  and  the  price  of  gold  was  not  affected  at  all. 
The  Secretary  lias  now  the  same  duty  as  before,  to  apply  the  gold  to 


the  purchase  of  stock  for  the  sinking  fund,  a  process  which  would  freely 
deplete  the  treasury.  On  the  promulgation  of  the  passage  of  this  bill, 
gold,  which  had  been  dull  at  163  J,  immediately  rose  to  164^,  and  in 
the  evening  sales  reached  165I. 

"  This  morning  the  assemblage  at  the  gold  rooms  was  prompt,  and 
the  opening  price  was  165  J. 

"The  demand  continued  very  active,  and  the  rate  soon  touched  168, 
when  a  little  reaction  set  in,  and  it  declined  to  16  7  J,  and  again  recov- 
ered to  168^  to  i68|  at  12  M. 

"  The  rate  for  exchange  went  up  in  the  same  proportion,  and  sales 
were  made  at  181  J,  but  this  rate  is  still  lower  than  gold." 

Now  see  the  result.  The  business  men  of  New  York,  who 
are  perfectly  familiar  with  the  whole  subject,  took  it  up,  and  the 
moment  the  bill  was  passed  declared  what  the  result  would  be. 
They  knew  how  perfectly  futile  would  be  its  effect  on  the  price 
of  gold,  and  up  went  gold  eight  or  nine  per  cent  in  a  single  day. 
They  saw  by  how  large  a  majority  the  bill  had  passed  the  House, 
and  they  considered  that  majority  an  indication  that  the  House 
would  insist  upon  its  action.  It  seems  to  me  there  is  a  practi- 
cal lesson,  which  this  House  should  not  fail  to  profit  by,  in 
the  consequences  which  followed  our  action  when  this  bill  was 
originally  passed. 

Wc  have,  therefore,  proposed  as  a  remedy  for  the  present 
difficulty  growing  out  of  the  accumulation  of  gold  in  the  treas- 
ury; first,  the  creation  of  a  sinking  fund;  next,  the  anticipation 
of  the  payment  of  the  interest  on  the  public  debt;  neither  of 
which,  as  I  have  already  shown,  is  at  all  adequate  to  meet  the 
present  emergency.  We  have,  then,  in  the  third  place,  the 
proposition  to  place  in  the  hands  of  the  Secretary  of  the  Treas- 
ury the  power,  after  reserving  in  the  treasury  an  amount  of 
gold  sufficient  to  provide  for  the  payment  of  the  interest  in  coin, 
to  take  the  large  balance,  and  so  wield  it  as  to  knock  down  the 
price  of  gold;  and  if  at  the  same  time  he  knocks  down  the  gold 
speculators,  they  will  meet  a  just  reward  for  their  presumptuous 
sins.  **  Let  them  not  have  dominion  over  us."  Sir,  it  will  be 
a  power  that  can  be  wielded  for  good,  not  only  now,  but  at  any 
time  in  the  future,  as  the  nature  of  the  case  may  require.  I  be- 
lieve that  the  proposition  contained  in  the  amendment  of  the 
Senate  is,  on  the  whole,  the  best  that  we  can  adopt 



March  24  and  31,  1864. 

Towards  the  close  of  the  war,  the  urgent  need  of  additional  railroad 
facilities  between  Washington  City  and  the  Northern  and  Eastern  States 
became  painfully  apparent.  January  6,  1864,  the  House  of  Represent- 
atives created  a  special  committee  of  nine  members,  "  with  authority  to 
examine  into  the  expediency  of  the  establishment  of  a  new  route  for 
postal  and  other  purposes"  between  Washington  and  New  York.  Of 
this  committee  Mr.  Garfield  was  a  member.  Various  propositions  were 
submitted  at  that  session ;  but  the  only  one  that  seriously  arrested  the 
attention  of  the  House  and  the  country  was  a  bill  reported  from  the 
Military  Committee,  March  9,  "  to  declare  certain  roads  military  road's 
and  post-roads."  This  bill  was  introduced  in  response  to  a  petition  of 
the  Raritan  and  Delaware  Bay  Railroad  Company,  asking  to  have  their 
road  declared  a  lawful  structure,  and  a  post  and  military  road  of  the 
United  States.  This  was  the  case,  as  stated  by  Mr.  H.  C.  Deming,  of 
Connecticut,  who  introduced  the  measure  and  opened  the  debate,  March 
17,  1864. 

"  The  petitioners  have  constructed  a  raib-oad  from  Port  Monmouth, 
near  Sandy  Hook,  to  Atsion,  which  lies  nearly  east  of  Philadelphia,  and 
it  is  connected  by  the  Batsto  branch  with  the  Camden  and  Atlantic  Rail- 
road Company.  Thus,  by  means  of  the  road  they  have  constructed,  by 
means  of  the  Batsto  branch,  and  by  means  of  the  Camden  and  Atlantic 
Railroad  Company,  they  have  a  railroad  constructed  from  Port  Mon- 
mouth, near  Sandy  Hook,  to  Camden,  which  is  opposite  the  city  of 
Philadelphia.  They  have  also  a  steamboat  running  fbom  the  city  of  New 
York  to  Port  Monmouth,  and  a  ferry  running  from  Camden  to  Phila- 
delphia ;  and  thus,  by  means  of  their  raib-oads,  their  steamboats,  and 
their  ferry,  they  have  a  continuous  through  line  from  the  city  of  New 
York  to  the  city  of  Philadelphia.  In  one  great  emergency  of  the  na- 
tion, shortly  after  the  battle  of  Antietam,  when  there  was  a  universal 
panic  through  the  country,  when  the  interests  of  the  republic  were 
most  seriously  imperilled,  this  continuous  through  line  from  New  York  to 


Philadelphia  was  able  to  render  great  service  to  the  nation,  and  actually 
carried  over  this  through  line  upwards  of  seventeen  thousand  troops,  and 
upwards  of  eight  hundred  thousand  pounds  of  munitions  of  war.  Shortly 
after  they  had  performed  this  great  service  to  the  country,  a  petition  for 
an  injunction  was  brought  against  them  by  the  Camden  and  Amboy 
Raihoad  Company  before  the  Chancellor  of  New  Jersey ;  and  since  this 
subject  has  been  before  the  committee,  a  decree  of  the  Chancellor  has 
been  issued  in  that  case,  a  synopsis  of  which  will  be  found  in  the  report 
which  accompanies  this  bill.  The  Chancellor  enjoins  the  use  of  the 
petitioners'  road,  except  for  local  purposes,  and  orders  that  the  Raritan 
and  Delaware  Bay  Railroad  Company  pay  to  the  Camden  and  Amboy 
Railroad  Company  all  sums  collected  by  the  former  for  through  business, 
including  the  amount  received  for  transportation  of  troops;  and  the 
Ch^hcellor  decrees  that  the  petitioners*  road  has  no  right  to  carry  or 
aid  in  carrying,  passengers  and  freight  between  New  York  and  Philadel- 
phia. The  effect  of  this  decision,  as  the  House  will  see,  is  to  destroy 
this  road  as  a  continuous  through  road  between  New  York  and  Phila- 
delphia. It  confines  it  to  local  business  between  Camden  and  Port 
Monmouth.  It  cuts  off  both  ends  of  the  road,  cuts  off  the  steamboat 
transportation  on  the  Raritan  Bay,  and  the  ferry  upon  the  Delaware 
River,  thus  destroying  the  road  as  a  continuous  through  route  between 
New  York  and  Philadelphia. 

"Under  these  circumstances  the  petitioners  come  to  Congress  for 
relief,  praying  that  their  road  and  its  branches,  and  its  accompanying 
ferries,  may  be  declared  lawful  structures,  and  also  post  and  military 
roads  of  the  United  States."  ^ 

Upon  this  bill,  March  24  and  31,  Mr.  Garfield  made  this  speech. 
May  13,  the  House  struck  out  all  after  the  enacting  clause,  and  inserted 
the  following :  "  That  every  railroad  company  in  the  United  States, 
whose  road  is  operated  by  steam,  its  successors  and  assigns,  be  and  is 
hereby  authorized  to  carry  upon  and  over  its  road,  connections,  boats, 
bridges,  and  ferries,  all  freight,  property,  mails,  passengers,  troops,  and 
government  supplies,  on  their  way  from  one  State  to  another  State,  and 
to  receive  compensation  therefor."  In  this  form  the  bill  passed,  with 
the  title,  "  A  Bill  to  regulate  Commerce  among  the  several  States."  A 
vote  on  the  bill  was  never  reached  in  the  Senate. 

But  this  was  not  the  end  of  the  measure.  Early  the  next  session,  Mr. 
Garfield  himself  reintroduced  the  bill  in  the  form  just  given.  After  be- 
ing amended,  so  as  to  allow  railroads  "  to  connect  with  roads  of  other 
States,  so  as  to  form  continuous  lines,"  and  denying  them  the  right  "  to 
build  any  new  road,  or  connect  with  any  other  road,  without  authority 
from  the  State  in  which  said  railroad  or  connection  may  be  proposed," 
the  bill  passed,  and  became  a  law,  June  15,  1866.     In  some  remarks 

*  Congressional  Globe,  March  17,  p   1165. 


made  on  December  19, 1865,  Mr.  Garfield  said  that  the  bill  was  ''a  plain 
determination  of  the  right  of  Congress  to  regulate  commerce  between 
the  States/'  and  that  it  "struck  a  blow  at  those  hateful  monopolies 
which  had  been  so  long  preying  upon  the  body  of  American  industry." 
Kindred  topics  were  discussed  by  him,  May  30  and  31,  1866,  in  re- 
marks upon  the  bill  to  make  the  Cleveland  and  Mahoning  Railroad  a 
military,  postal,  and  commercial  railroad  of  the  United  States. 

MR.  SPEAKER,  —  Before  I  proceed  to  discuss  the  merits 
of  this  bill,  I  must  express  my  disapprobation  of  all 
those  remarks,  of  which  we  have  heard  very  many  since  this 
debate  began,  respecting  the  probable  motives  of  the  com- 
mittees and  members  of  this  House.  Such  considerations  are 
wholly  unworthy  of  ourselves  and  our  position. 

The  gentleman  from  New  Jersey^  has  intimated  that  the 
Committee  on  Military  Affairs  was  not  unanimous  in  its  action 
upon  this  bill.  I  should  like  to  know  by  what  authority  he 
makes  that  assertion.  If  any  member  of  the  Military  Commit- 
tee is  opposed  to  the  bill,  he  can  speak  for  himself.  We  have 
also  been  told  that  there  are  outside  influences  at  work  here ; 
that  the  lobbies  are  full  of  corporation  agents,  crowding  around 
us  on  all  hands,  and  pressing  their  influences  upon  the  commit- 
tees and  the  House.  I  have  only  to  say,  that  such  remarks  are 
wholly  unworthy  of  this  place,  and  should  be  condemned  as 
undignified  and  unbefitting  the  character  of  men  holding  the 
high  place  of  legislators  for  the  American  nation. 

The  gentleman  from  Pennsylvania  ^  who  has  just  addressed 
the  House  stated  that  New  Jersey  politics,  New  Jersey  inter- 
ests, and  New  Jersey  legislation  were  brought  before  us  and 
animadverted  upon  in  order  to  control  our  action.  This  is  all 
small-talk  aside  from  the  issue,  and  should  not  have  a  feather's 
weight  in  determining  the  action  of  this  body.  He  treats  the 
Raritan  and  Atlantic  Railroad  as  a  part  of  a  proposed  air-line 
road,  and  reads  us  a  lesson  from  the  hornbooks  of  geometry  to 
prove  that  this  broken  line  of  roads  does  not  satisfy  Euclid's 
definition  of  a  straight  line.  We  do  not  need  discussions  of 
that  sort  to  enable  us  to  understand  the  nature  of  a  monopoly, 
or  our  duty  as  legislators.  The  question  before  us  is  a  part  of 
the  larger  one  of  increasing  the  railroad  facilities  between  New 

^  Mr.  Rogers.  >  Mr.  Broomall. 


York  and  Washington.    The  considerations  which  bear  upon 
that  question  bear  also  upon  this. 

It  is  a  notorious  fact,  that  the  means  of  communication  be- 
tween the  commercial  metropolis  and  the  political  metropolis 
of  this  country  are  exceedingly  deficient.  This  cannot  be  de- 
nied. We  have  it  from  the  Post-Office  Department,  we  have  it 
from  the  War  Department,  we  have  it  from  the  business  public, 
and  we  have  it  from  the  experience  of  every  gentleman  who 
has  travelled  over  this  route,  or  who  has  had  occasion  to  trans- 
port freight  over  it,  —  that  there  can  scarcely  be  found  in  the 
United  States  any  two  important  cities  with  railroad  facilities 
so  inadequate  as  those  between  New  York  and  Washington. 

It  is  a  fact  to  which  I  wish  to  call  the  attention  of  the  House, 
and  I  have  the  consent  of  the  committee  to  which  I  belong  to 
state  it,  that,  in  reply  to  a  letter  addressed  to  him,  the  Quarter- 
master-General states  that  the  facilities  of  the  present  roads 
are  not  sufficient  for  the  transportation  of  forage  for  the  ani- 
mals belonging  to  the  Army  of  the  Potomac  and  the  troops 
about  this  city.  He  states  officially  that  it  requires  three  hun- 
dred and  seventy-five  car-loads  of  long  forage  and  seventy-four 
car-loads  of  short  forage  per  day  to  feed  the  animals  belong- 
ing to  the  army  in  front  of  Washington.  This  does  not  include 
transportation  of  quartermasters*  stores.  It  does  not  include 
commissary  supplies.  It  does  not  include  the  ordinary  necessi- 
ties of  trade  in  this  capital.  It  includes  only  this  one  item,  — 
the  supply  of  the  animals  of  the  army,  which  requires  four  hun- 
dred and  forty-nine  car-loads  of  forage  per  day;  all  of  which 
must  come  to  the  city  of  Washington  over  a  single  track,  the 
only  means  of  access  in  time  of  winter  to  the  capital  of  the 
nation.  A  large  part  of  these  supplies  come  over  the  line 
between  New  York  and  this  place.  At  the  time  of  the  ice 
blockade,  on  the  1st  of  January  last  and  the  week  succeed- 
ing, the  Quartermaster-General  reported  that  he  received  but 
t\\'enty  car-loads  of  forage  for  a  whole  week.  He  should  have 
received  seven  times  four  hundred  and  forty-nine  car-loads. 
The  Potomac,  and  the  railroad  itself,  which  in  two  places 
crosses  an  arm  of  the  sea,  were  blockaded  with  ice. 

The  quartermaster  further  reported,  that,  if  the  blockade  had 
continued  one  week  longer,  the  animals  of  the  army  would  have 
been  in  a  starving  condition.  It  stands  before  this  government  as 
a  matter  of  fact,  that  had  the  ice  remained  in  the  river  two  weeks 


longer,  the  animals  of  the  army  of  the  Potomac  would  have 
perished.  You  could  not  have  fed  your  army,  you  could  not 
have  preserved  your  animals,  you  could  not  have  maintained 
your  war,  if  the  providence  of  God  had  not  broken  the  fetters 
of  winter ;  for  the  simple  reason  that  a  power  not  in  the  hands 
of  the  government,  but  in  the  hands  of  a  great  corporation, 
holds  the  key  to  all  communication  between  this  city  and  the 
outside  world. 

Now  the  question  comes,  Has  this  government  the  right  to 
protect  itself?  has  this  nation  the  right  to  feed  itself?  has  it  the 
right  to  feed  its  army?  If  it  has  any  of  these  rights,  it  has  the 
consequent  right  to  adopt  and  use  the  means  necessary  to  ac- 
complish the  purpose.  No  small-talk  about  New  Jersey  or 
Pennsylvania  politics,  no  small-talk  about  an  air  line,  a  broken 
line,  or  a  curved  line,  will  meet  the  gigantic  fact  which  stares 
Congress  in  the  face,  that  we  must  feed  our  army,  and  to  do  so 
must  increase  our  railroad  facilities  from  this  place  to  the  out- 
side world,  and  most  of  all  between  this  city  and  the  great  com- 
mercial metropolis  of  the  nation.  I  pass  from  this  general 
consideration  to  the  specific  one,  the  bill  before  us. 

Mr.  Morris.  The  gentleman  speaks  of  obstructions  by  ice.  I  wish 
to  inquire  whether  they  will  be  remedied  in  the  future  if  this  bill  is 
passed.  In  other  words.  Is  the  obstruction  on  either  of  the  roads  in 
this  bill? 

I  will  answer,  that  the  proposed  new  road,  for  the  construc- 
tion of  which  the  select  committee  on  that  subject  has  prepared 
a  bill,  will  be  on  a  line  above  tide-water,  where  all  the  streams 
can  be  permanently  bridged,  thereby  avoiding  the  ice  and  com- 
pletely answering  the  question  which  the  gentleman  raises. 

I  have  thus  far  only  stated  the  fact  that  we  are  miserably  and 
notoriously  deficient  in  means  of  communication  between  this 
city  and  New  York ;  and  anything  we  can  do  to  increase  the 
facilities  between  this  city  and  that  will  help  the  business  of 

The  legislature  of  New  Jersey  has  done  what,  perhaps,  it 
had  the  right  to  do^  I  do  not  interfere  with  that,  and  I  do  not 
ask  this  House  to  legislate  for  New  Jersey,  but  for  the  Union. 
That  State  chartered  a  railroad  between  New  York  and  Phila- 
delphia, and  placed  limitations  and  restrictions  in  the  charter  of 
that  road.  It  provided  that  no  other  road  should  do  through 
business  between  these  two  cities.    That  is  the  point  with  which 


we  have  to  deal  here.  Suppose  New  Jersey  had  made  a  law 
that  there  should  never  be  any  railroad  through  her  territory. 
If  she  were  isolated,  like  Florida,  she  probably  might  have 
made  sucli  a  law  without  wrong  to  her  sister  States,  and  it 
could  not  have  been  considered  an  interference  with  commerce 
between  the  States ;  but  if  New  Jersey,  located  as  she  is,  had 
passed  such  a  law,  would  any  one  deny  the  right  of  the  general 
government  to  order  or  permit  the  construction  of  a  new  road 
across  that  State  for  the  general  good  of  the  country? 

Let  us  take  a  stronger  case.  There  is  one  State,  —  New 
York,  —  whose  territory  cuts  the  Union  in  two.  Its  northern 
boundary  touches  the  British  dominions ;  its  southern,  the  sea ; 
and  it  forms  the  only  land  connection  between  New  England 
and  the  West  Suppose  New  York  should  decree  that  there 
should  forever  be  no  railroads  within  her  limits ;  then  no  man 
in  New  England  could  reach  the  West,  except  by  the  sea  or 
through  a  foreign  country.  Or  suppose,  instead  of  such  a  law 
as  that,  she  should  declare  that  there  should  be  but  one  rail- 
road across  her  territory,  —  but  one  highway  between  New 
England  and  the  West ;  and  suppose  that  that  road  could  do 
but  three  fourths  of  the  required  business ;  I  ask  if  that  would 
not  be  precisely  the  same  as  though  New  York  should  decree 
that  one  fourth  of  all  the  necessary  business  between  New  Eng- 
land and  the  West  should  never  be  done,  and  if  she  would  not 
thus  destroy  one  fourth  of  all  the  commerce  between  those  sec- 
tions of  the  country?  And  I  ask  any  gentleman  if,  in  that 
event,  he  would  not  consider  it  our  duty  to  give  the  rights  of 
New  England  and  the  West  a  hearing  on  this  floor,  —  to  re- 
voke that  decision  of  New  York,  and  declare  that  free  course 
should  be  given  to  the  commerce  between  the  Great  West  and 
the  New  England  States?  It  seems  to  me  that  no  sane  man 
can  doubt  it 

A  thing  precisely  similar  has  been  done  by  the  State  of  New 
Jersey.  She  does  not  span  the  continent;  she  does  not  reach 
from  the  ocean  to  Canada ;  but  she  does  lie  between  the  po- 
litical centre  and  the  commercial  centre  of  this  country ;  and 
it  happens  to  be  in  her  power,  if  we  do  not  exercise  a  superior 
power,  to  say  that  there  shall  be  no  road,  or  but  one,  between 
those  two  great  cities.  She  has  chosen  not  to  interdict  all 
roads,  but  to  say  there  shall  be  no  commerce  between  Wash- 
ington and  New  York  beyond  what  one  road  is  able  and  willing 


to  carry  on.  Who  will  deny  that  this  is,  pro  tantOy  an  interdic- 
tion of  commerce,  —  a  decision  that  all  the  surplus  business 
over  and  above  what  the  Camden  and  Amboy  road  can  do, 
shall  not  be  done  at  all?  If  there  is  ever  offered  for  transpor- 
tation over  that  road  one  pound  of  freight  more  than  it  can 
carry,  and  carry  promptly.  New  Jersey  has  decided  by  solemn 
law  that  that  pound  of  freight  shall  not  be  carried  by  rail- 
road across  her  territory.  She  has  absolutely  interdicted  it. 
It  is  to  meet  this  case  that  the  power  of  Congress  is  now 

Now,  what  constitjutional  powers  do  we  possess  in  this  be- 
half? If  gentlemen  will  take  time  to  read  the  very  able  report 
of  my  colleague  on  the  Military  Committee,  the  gentleman  from 
Connecticut,^  they  will  see  that  five  distinct  times  has  the  Con- 
gress of  the  United  States  affirmed  and  exercised  the-  right  to 
establish  military  and  post  roads,  and  to  regulate  commerce 
between  the  States,  by  permitting  the  opening  of  roads  and  the 
construction  of  bridges.  *And  not  only  so,  but  on  one  memo- 
rable occasion,  fresh  in  all  our  recollections.  Congress  actually 
annulled  a  decision  of  the  Supreme  Court  of  the  United  States 
on  a  similar  question.  The  Supreme  Court  declared  the 
Wheeling  bridge  a  public  nuisance;  decided  that  it  existed 
without  sufficient  warrant  of  law,  and  should  be  removed;  and 
immediately  on  the  rendering  of  that  decision  Congress  passed 
a  law  declaring  the  structure  a  lawful  one,  and  part  of  a  post- 
road,  any  law  of  any  State  or  decision  of  any  court  to  the  con- 
trary notwithstanding.  Will  the  gentleman  from  Pennsylvania  * 
who  has  just  taken  his  seat  claim  that  this  was  an  indignity  to 
the  Supreme  Court?  He  says  that  the  legislation  now  pro- 
posed is  an  indignity  to  the  legislature  and  the  judiciary  of  New 
Jersey.  New  Jersey  has  risen  very  high  in  her  dignity  if  the 
Congress  of  the  United  States  can  insult  her  by  legislating  as  it 
has  done  five  times  before.  If  New  Jersey  is  insulted  by  this 
legislation,  what  will  the  gentleman  say  of  the  Supreme  Court 
of  the  United  States,  whose  decision  was  at  once  revoked  by 
act  of  Congress?  I  know  of  no  power  on  earth  that  should 
possess  more  dignity  than  the  sovereignty  of  the  American 
people  in  Congress  assembled.  I  know  of  no  body  politic, 
corporate  or  national,  that  can  be  insulted  by  the  legitimate 
and  constitutional  action  of  this  body. 

^  Mr.  Deming.  «  Mr.  Broomall. 


Mr.  Broomall.  The  gentleman  is  certainly  mistaken  in  supposing 
that  I  claimed  the  want  of  power  in  Congress  to  make  such  enactments, 
or  that  I  stated  that  the  dignity  of  the  State  of  New  Jersey  would  be  in- 
sulted. I  claimed  no  dignity  for  New  Jersey,  and  denied  no  power  to 
Congress ;  I  merely  denied  the  policy  of  amending  New  Jersey  legis- 
lation by  act  of  Congress. 

If  the  gentleman's  statement  of  his  own  position  be  correct, — 
and  of  course  I  accept  it,  but  I  distinctly  understood  him  other- 
wise,—  I  still  do  not  agree  with  him  that  we  should  never  inter- 
fere with  and  amend  things  that  are  wrong.  I  take  it  to  be  our 
special  duty  here  to  do  justice ;  and  if  any  State  has  usurped 
the  prerogatives  of  this  body,  it  is  our  duty  to  correct  that  in- 
justice by  amending  or  abrogating  its  action.  I  am  very  glad 
that  the  gentleman  has  taken  away  all  suspicion  that  he  denies 
the  power  of  Congress  to  legislate  on  this  subject. 

Now,  what  are  the  facts  in  relation  to  this  New  Jersey  rail- 
road ?  That  it  is  a  complete  and  sweeping  monopoly,  no  man 
can  deny.  That  it  has  furnished  the  revenues  and  paid  the  ex- 
penses of  that  State  for  many  years,  is  undeniable.  Not  a  dol- 
lar of  tax  for  the  current  expenses  of  her  government  did  New 
Jersey  levy  for  years  until  the  war  began.  The  Camden  and 
Amboy  Railroad  Company  has  paid  $2,600,000  into  the  treas- 
ury of  the  State  since  it  received  its  charter.  And  that  has  been 
collected,  not  on  the  local  business,  but  on  the  through  business 
from  Philadelphia  to  New  York,  nine  tenths  of  it  the  business 
of  persons  not  citizens  of  New  Jersey.  Disguise  it  under  any 
color  you  please.  New  Jersey's  taxes  have  been  paid  by  citizens 
of  other  States.  Her  burdens  have  been  borne  by  citizens  of 
Pennsylvania,  of  New  York,  of  the  West,  of  New  England,  and 
not  by  her  own  citizens. 

It  is  very  true  that,  if  a  citizen  of  New  Jersey  chances  to  be 
in  Philadelphia,  and  buys  his  ticket  to  New  York,  he  pays  his 
ten  cents  of  tax  to  the  State ;  but  it  is  also  true  that,  if  his  jour- 
ney is  wholly  within  New.Jersey,  he  pays  less  per  mile  than  he 
would  as  a  through  passenger.  This  has  been  a  crying  shame 
before  the  people  of  the  country.  Men  of  justice  and  equity 
have  condemned  it  everywhere.  I  say  it  without  any  ill  feeling 
toward  New  Jersey  or  her  people.  It  has  brought  a  cloud  over 
the  fair  fame  of  the  State,  which,  were  I  a  representative  from 
the  State,  I  should  be  the  first  to  desire  to  see  removed. 

Now,  what  is  the  purpose  of  the  bill  before  us?     A  line  of 

VOL.  I.  4 


road  has  been  constructed  from  Raritan  Bay  to  Philadelphia,  or 
rather  to  the  middle  of  the  river,  opposite  Philadelphia.  The 
Supreme  Court  of  New  Jersey  has  decided,  first,  that  the  road 
is  a  legal  structure.  Let  that  be  noted.  But  it  has  also  de- 
clared, that,  although  the  road  is  a  legal  structure,  no  man  can 
ride  over  it ;  that  no  freight  can  be  carried  over  it  from  Phila- 
delphia to  New  York.  The  court  has  sealed  up  the  two  ends 
of  the  road.  It  has  sealed  it  at  the  middle  of  the  river  oppo- 
site Philadelphia.  It  has  sealed  it  at  high-water  mark,  on  Rari- 
tan Bay.  Now,  what  is  asked  of  Congress?  We  are  asked  to 
commence  at  the  State  line  and  unseal  one  end  of  the  road; 
and  we  are  asked  to  go  to  high-water  mark,  at  the  boundary  of 
the  ocean,  which  is  under  our  exclusive  jurisdiction,  and  unseal 
the  other  end  of  the  road.     That  is  what  we  are  asked  to  do. 

But  I  am  informed  that  the  morning  hour  has  expired.  I 
have  a  few  more  words  to  add  when  the  consideration  of  this 
bill  is  resumed. 

On  the  31st  of  March  the  debate  was  renewed,  and  Mr.  Garfield  con- 
tinued as  follows  :  —  \ 

Mr.  Speaker, — When  this  subject  was  last  before  the  House, 
I  submitted  a  few  remarks,  but  the  morning  hour  expired  before 
I  concluded.  I  then  undertook  to  show,  by  the  reports  of  the 
Quartermaster-General  and  the  Postmaster-General,  that  oiir 
communications  between  this  city  and  the  city  of  New  York 
are  notoriously  insufficient  for  the  wants  of  the  government  and 
the  general  public.  That  statement  was  demonstrated  by  quo- 
tations from  official  reports.  I  then  made  the  point  that,  if  any 
State  prohibited  the  construction  of  more  than  one  line  of  com- 
munication, and  that  line  was  not  sufficient  for  all  the  business 
required,  it  was,  pro  tanto,  an  inhibition  of  transportation  across 
that  State.  I  showed  conclusively,  I  think,  that  such  was  the  fact 
in  regard  to  transportation  across  the  State  of  New  Jersey,  and 
the  prohibition  which  now  exists  is,  in -fact,  a  refusal  to  grant  the 
necessary  rights  of  transit  across  the  territory  of  that  State,  and 
a  direct  interference  with  commerce  between  the  States. 

I  know  that  the  gentleman  who  preceded  me^  stated  that, 
while  he  was  in  favor  of  an  "  air  line,"  or  direct  route  across 
New  Jersey,  he  was  not  in  favor  of  an  "  elbow  line,"  or  circuit- 
ous route.     I  answer,  if  the  route  is  a  circuitous  one,  and  less 

^  Mr.  Broomall. 


eligible  for  the  purposes  of  commerce,  it  cannot  be  competitive 
unless  transportation  by  the  usual  route  is  insufficient  If  you 
allow  that  the  present  road  is  insufficient,  why  not  permit  the 
use  of  a  circuitous  road  rather  than  cripple  the  commerce  of 
the  country?  But  the  new  road  is  competitive,  because  the  old 
one  is  not  sufficient.  The  government  has  transported  over 
the  elbow  "  route,"  during  the  past  season,  3 1 ,394  United  States 
troops,  620  horses,  and  108  car-loads  of  baggage  for  the  troops 
thus  transported.  The  road  is  a  competitive  route,  and  a  New 
Jersey  court  has  so  decided.  Why  competitive?  Because,  in 
railroad  travelling,  time  is  a  more  important  element  than  dis- 
tance, and  the  running  time  of  the  new  road  between  Philadel- 
phia and  New  York  is  ten  minutes  less  than  that  of  the  Camden 
and  Amboy  between  the  same  places.  It  is  true  the  distance  is 
twenty-three  miles  greater,  yet,  because  of  the  sparsely  settled 
country  through  which  it  passes,  there  are  fewer  stopping- 
places,  fewer  hindrances  to  travel,  and  hence  it  is  a  quicker 
route.  It  does  its  business  more  rapidly  and  promptly  than  the 
Camden  and  Amboy. 

The  present  monopoly  complains  that  greater  facilities  for 
transportation  have  been  afforded  to  the  American  people.  It 
has  itself  furnished  testimony  of  its  own  inability  to  meet  all  the 
demands  of  commerce.  In  a  document  which  its  directors  have 
circulated  among  the  members  of  this  House,  they  attempt  to 
show  that  they  have  filled  all  orders  promptly  and  thoroughly. 
One  of  their  own  witnesses,  however,  a  captain  in  the  army, 
says :  — 

"  In  answer  to  the  several  interrogations  contained  in  the  pencil  memo- 
randum which  you  handed  me  yesterday  I  have  to  state  as  follows,  viz. : — 

"  Fourth  interrogation.  —  Camden  and  Amboy  Railroad  could  have 
carried  more  troops  at  any  time  than  were  offered.  I  have  no  means  of 
knowing  how  many  troops  could  have  been  carried  if  the  whole  facilities 
of  that  road  had  been  given  to  the  government ;  but  the  demands  at  times 
have  been  very  heavy,  probably  more  than  any  one  road  in  this  or  any 
other  country  could  have  met  without  considerable  delay.  Troops  have 
often  been  sent  by  steamer  to  Washington  to  relieve  the  railroads. 

"  D.  Stimson, 
Captain  and  Assistant  Quartermaster,^* 

Who  is  it  that  complains  of  the  increased  facilities  of  the  new 
road?  Who  comes  into  court  and  claims  to  be  aggrieved?  It 
is  the  Camden  and  Amboy  Railroad,  and  no  other. 


I  hold  in  my  hand  a  book  which  ought  to  be  called  the  Regis- 
ter of  Greatness  and  Official  Dignitaries,  or  rather  the  Blue 
Book  of  the  State  of  New  Jersey.  It  is  a  collection  of  the 
official  reports  of  the  Camden  and  Amboy  monopoly  from  the 
formation  of  the  company  to  the  present  time,  and  I  venture  to 
say  that  such  another  book  cannot  be  found  in  America.  The 
monopoly  has  taken  New  Jersey  under  its  protection.  It  praises, 
admonishes,  or  censures  New  Jersey,  according  as  she  follows  or 
disregards  the  standard  of  the  Camden  and  Amboy  monopoly's 
theory  of  political  economy.  I  venture  to  say  that  a  parallel  to 
the  records  of  this  book  cannot  be  found  in  the  history  of  the 
republic.     I  will  present  some  of  the  facts  which  it  contains. 

In  1 846  the  monopoly  issued  an  address  to  the  people  of  New 
Jersey.  It  tells  them  that  New  Jersey  is  vastly  superior  to  her 
sister  States  in  the  management  of  public  concerns ;  it  goes  on 
to  say  that  Pennsylvania  and  New  York  have  foolishly  expended 
money  in  public  improvements  and  developing  their  material 
wealth,  and  then  concludes,  with  an  air  of  triumph,  as  follows : 
"  New  Jersey  has  no  coal  lands  or  salt  springs  to  be  converted 
into  monopolies ;  but  she  has  a  most  enviable  geographical  po- 
sition in  the  Union,  which  it  is  her  duty  to  improve  for  the 
benefit  of  her  citizens.  She  has  done  so  in  the  manner  deemed 
most  advisable  and  profitable,  and  has  reason  to  be  proud  of 
the  wisdom  which  dictated  her  policy." 

She  has  "  improved  her  geographical  position  "  by  creating  a 
sweeping  monopoly,  and  taxing  all  freight  and  passengers  be- 
tween the  great  commercial  cities  of  Pennsylvania  and  New 
York.  The  monopoly  congratulates  New  Jersey  on  her  cunning 
device  to  raise  taxes  without  cost  to  herself. 

This  monopoly  is  sometimes  as  "  'umble  "  as  Uriah  Heep,  and 
at  others  as  proud  as  Lucifer.  When  it  wants  favors  from  the 
legislature  of  New  Jersey,  it  is  very  humble ;  but  when  the  State 
wants  favors  from  it,  it  is  exceedingly  haughty.  In  i860,  the 
monopoly  came  before  the  country  for  a  loan  of  $6,000,000. 
To  secure  it  on  reasonable  terms  it  became  necessary  to  exhibit 
the  resources  of  the  company.  To  do  this,  the  company  issued 
one  of  its  proclamations  to  the  people  of  New  Jersey.  Let  it  be 
remembered  that  this  monopoly  tells  the  people  of  New  Jersey 
that  it  relies  chiefly  on  New  York  and  Philadelphia  for  the 
money  it  makes.  It  exhibits  the  condition  of  the  joint  com- 
panies as  follows :  — 


"  I.  The  peculiar  advantage  of  their  geographical  position.  2.  The 
extent  and  number  of  railway  lines  now  belonging  to  the  joint  companies, 
compared  with  their  single  line  of  sixty-one  miles  in  1834.  3.  The  reve- 
nues of  the  companies  now,  compared  with  the  estimate  of  probable 
revenue  in  the  infancy  of  their  enterprise. 

"  The  cities  of  New  York  and  Philadelphia,  which  are  connected  to- 
gether by  our  canal  and  railways,  are  still  in  advance  of  all  other  cities  in 
the  United  States  in  wealth,  population,  and  commercial  advantages.  It 
has  been  upon  their  growth  and  prosperity  that  we  have  chiefly  relied  for 
revenue  and  its  progressive  increase.  This  reliance  has  not  been  indulged 

"In  1834  the  net  income  of  the  company  was  $450,000.  By  refer- 
ence to  the  annual  sworn  report  of  the  State  Directors,  made  in  January, 
i860,  to  the  legislature  of  New  Jersey,  it  will  be  seen  that  the  net  in- 
come of  the  Camden  and  Amboy  Railroad  Company  from  their  differ- 
ent through  lines  of  railway  was  $91 1,242,  and  that  of  the  canal  company 
"^^  tzZSA^9\  in  all,  1 1,246,371;  being  nearly  three  times  greater  in 
amount  than  the  original  estimates  of  income  in  1834 

"  The  population  of  the  United  States  doubles  in  a  little  over  twenty- 
three  years,  and  that  of  the  cities  of  New  York  and  Philadelphia  in  about 
eighteen  years ;  but  the  revenues  of  the  joint  companies  increase  in  a 
ratio  exceeding  that  of  the  increase  of  the  population  of  New  York  and 
Riiladelphia ;  and  when  in  twenty-five  years  New  York  and  Philadelphia 
may  each  contain  two  million  people,  and  the  United  States  sixty  million, 
the  annual  revenues  of  the  joint  companies  may  be  safely  estimated  at 

"  It  is  no  exaggeration  to  say,  that  there  is  not  on  the  continent  of 
North  America  any  railway  or  canal  franchise  so  valuable  as  that  of  the 
joint  companies.  They  possess  a  capacious  canal,  itself  worth  more  this 
day  than  the  whole  amount  which  we  propose  to  borrow  upon  the  secu- 
rity of  the  united  companies. 

"  They  are  proprietors  likewise  of  one  entire  through  line,  and  of  two 
thirds  of  a  second  line  of  railway  connecting  two  great  cities,  the  com- 
mercial emporiums  of  the  Western  world.  They  have  a  controlling  prop- 
erty also  in  a  line  of  railway,  more  than  one  hundred  miles  in  extent, 
reaching  into  the  coal  and  iron  fields  of  Pennsylvania,  the  products  of 
which  annually  augment  with  the  unbounded  demand,  which  is  ever  in 
advance  of  their  supply. 

"  The  interest  of  the  State  of  New  Jersey  is  identified  with  that  of  the 
joint  companies,  as  we  have  said  before,  and  she  is  relieved  from  the 
necessity  of  imposing  any  State  tax  by  the  ample  revenue  which  she 
derives  fix)m  the  companies. 

"  New  Jersey  is  distinguished  for  the  conservative  character  of  her 
people  and  her  legislation ;  and  when  her  citizens  have  invested  their 


capital  in  works  designed  for  the  public  benefit,  she  has  always  refused 
to  impair  the  value  of  franchise  devoted  to  such  objects  by  the  creation 
of  a  rival.  Efforts  indeed  have,  within  the  past  thirty  years,  been  some- 
times made  to  induce  the  legislature  of  New  Jersey  to  grant  charters  for 
rival  railroads,  but  invariably  without  success.  What  could  not  be  done 
when,  in  the  infancy  of  the  companies,  the  revenue  of  the  State  derived 
from  them  was  small,  need  excite*  no  apprehensions  now,  when  the  whole 
expense  of  the  State  government  is  provided  for  from  the  income  fur- 
nished by  the  business  of  our  railroads  and  canal." 

Was  ever  anything  so  barefaced?  The  monopoly  comes  here 
boasting  of  wealth  unprecedented,  of  rights  and  franchises  un- 
paralleled, and  of  drawing  its  chief  wealth  from  citizens  outside 
of  New  Jersey,  because  that  State  has  a  geographical  position 
which  enables  her  to  make  money  out  of  the  cities  of  other 
States  I  And  this  is  the  party  which  comes  here  and  asks  us  to 
forbid  the  Raritan  road  to  exercise  the  right  of  transportation 
between  New  York  and  Philadelphia ! 

How  have  the  joint  companies  managed  their  matters  and 
made  their  money?  The  charter  of  their  road  prohibited  them 
from  charging  more  than  three  dollars  for  a  passenger  fare  be- 
tween Philadelphia  and  New  York,  and  yet  from  the  year  1835  to 
1849  they  charged  four  dollars  in  the  face  of  the  law.  In  1842, 
however,  the  legislature  of  New  Jersey  determined  that  one  half 
of  all  that  the  company  charged  above  three  dollars  should  be 
paid  into  the  treasury  of  the  State ;  in  other  words,  the  State 
said  to  the  company,  "  If  you  will  steal,  give  us  half  the  steal- 
ings ;  we  really  cannot  prevent  you,  but  if  you  are  bound  to  do 
it,  give  us  half  the  proceeds."     But  they  never  did  even  that. 

I  will  call  the  attention  of  the  House  to  another  fact.  This 
line  of  roads  between  New  York  and  Philadelphia  is  ninety  miles 
long,  and  the  passenger  fare  is  now  three  dollars.  I  desire  to 
compare  this  with  some  other  rates  of  fare  as  I  find  them  quoted 
in  a  daily  journal :  New  York  to  Philadelphia,  90  miles,  $3 ; 
Hudson  River  to  Rhinebeck,  91  miles,  $1.80;  Harlem  to  Albany, 
154  miles,  $3  ;  Erie  to  Port  Jervis,  87  miles,  $2.10;  Lackawanna 
to  Stroudsburg,  90  miles,  $2.55  ;  New  Haven  and  Hartford  to 
Meriden,  94  miles,  $2.34;  New  Haven  and  New  London  to 
Guilford,  94  miles,  $2.35.  All  these  routes  save  one  are  longer 
than  the  Camden  and  Amboy,  and  some  of  them  charge  but  a 
little  more  than  half  the  fare.  The  road  from  Harlem  to  Albany 
is  one  hundred  and  fifty-four  miles  long,  and  charges  just  three 


dollars,  while  this  New  Jersey  monopoly  charges  the  same  for 
ninety  miles. 

The  companies  have  violated  all  the  common  laws  of  whole- 
sale and  retail  trade.  It  is  generally  understood  that  a  pound 
of  coffee  costs  more  pro  rata  than  a  thousand  pounds.  But  if 
you  travel  ten  miles  in  New  Jersey,  you  are  charged  less  per 
mile  than  if  you  travel  ninety  miles.  The  local  rates  within  the 
limits  of  the  State  are  not  half  so  great  as  the  through  rates 
between  New  York  and  Philadelphia.  It  is  by  this  kind  of  out- 
rageous violation  of  all  the  laws  of  trade  that  New  Jersey  has 
made  money  out  of  this  country. 

Now  what  does  this  monopoly  ask?  Here  is  the  prayer  its 
attorney  makes  to  the  Chancellor  of  New  Jersey :  — 

"  My  first  point  was  that  the  road  had  been  used,  by  their  own  admis- 
sion, for  the  transportation  of  soldiers  and  munitions  of  wai ;  the  fact 
that  they  allege  as  an  ample  and  sufficient  excuse,  is  that  this  was  done  by 
order  of  the  Secretary  of  War.  I  insist  that,  no  matter  by  whose  order  it 
was  done,  it  was  a  transportation  of  passenger  and  freight  by  railway 
across  the  State  and  between  the  cities,  in  every  sense  of  the  words. 
....  By  which  New  Jersey  is  robbed  of  her  tax  of  ten  cents  on  each 
passenger.  ....  I  say  it  is  no  defence  whatever,  if  they  have  suc- 
ceeded in  obtaining  an  order  of  the  Secretary  of  War,  when  we  call  upon 
them  to  give  us  the  money  they  made  by  it ;  and  that  is  one  of  our  calls. 
Ihey  have  no  right  to  get  an  order  to  deprive  the  State  of  New  Jersey  of 
the  right  of  transit  duty,  which  is  her  adopted  policy." 

In  other  words^,  this  gigantic  monopoly,  that  reaches  into  the 
heart  of  Pennsylvania  and  other  States  and  draws  its  life-blood 
from  them,  demands  that  the  new  road,  which  has  served  the 
government  in  the  transportation  of  troops  and  munitions  of 
war,  shall  pay  over  all  its  earnings  to  its  grasping  rival. 

What  answer  did  the  Chancellor  of  New  Jersey  make  to  this 
demand?  I  have  it  here.^  He  decided,  in  the  first  place,  that 
the  Raritan  road  is  a  legal  structure  from  Camden  to  Port  Mon- 
mouth,—  from  the  western  to  the  eastern  line  of  the  State.  In 
the  next  place,  that  no  passengers  or  freight  shall  be  taken  over 
it  from  Philadelphia  to  New  York.  What  kind  of  a  decision  is 
that?  Is  not  New  Jersey  thus  legislating  for  New  York  and 
Philadelphia?  She  says  that  a  man  may  go  by  this  route  from 
one  border  of  the  State  to  the  other,  but  not  beyond.  The  road 
is  a  legal  one,  but  no  man  can  pass  over  it  and  across  the  State 

1  See  N.  J   Eq.  Reports,  i  Green,  321-382. 



without  robbing  her  of  her  ten  cents  tax !  That  is  the  decision 
of  New  Jersey ;  and  if  it  is  not  legislation  for  New  York  and 
Pennsylvania,  there  can  be  no  such  thing  as  interference  with 
the  legislation  of  other  States.  Under  the  Chancellor's  decision, 
the  Raritan  company  has  been  compelled  to  instruct  its  agents 
to  sell  no  tickets  unless  they  know,  of  their  own  knowledge,  that 
the  party  purchasing  is  not  going  through  the  State.  The  re- 
sult is  to  destroy  at  least  one  third  of  the  local  business ;  but 
the  company  is  compelled  to  do  it  to  save  itself  from  further 

It  has  been  asked  why  this  matter  comes  here.  Because, 
in  obeying  the  orders  of  the  Secretary  of  War  in  transport- 
ing troops  and  munitions  of  war,  the  Raritan  road  has  been 
wronged ;  and  it  comes  to  the  Congress  of  the  nation  for  re- 
dress. The  Military  Committee  has  recommended  that  it  shall 
have  redress. 

I  believe  no  gentleman  here  will  deny  that  Congress  has  am- 
ple power  to  establish  military  and  post  roads,  to  maintain  the 
government,  and  feed  its  armies.  But  there  is  another  power 
which  should  not  be  overlooked.  I  mean  the  power  to  regulate 
commerce  between  the  States.  That  power  has  been  repeat- 
edly declared  by  the  courts  to  reside  exclusively  in  the  Con- 
gress of  the  United  States.  It  was  so  decided  in  Gibbons  v, 
Ogden,^  in  the  Passenger  Cases,^  and  in  the  Wheeling  Bridge 
Case.^  It  is  a  decision  so  frequently  made  that  no  gentleman  of 
any  legal  learning  will  risk  his  reputation  by  a*  denial  of  it. 

But,  Mr.  Speaker,  we  have  something  more  than  the  mere 
statement  of  the  right.  We  have  the  admission  of  the  State  of 
New  Jersey  that  Congress  has  this  right ;  and  if  any  person  or 
any  power  on  earth  may  come  in  to  deny  it,  New  Jersey  is  by 
her  own  act  forever  estopped  from  making  that  denial.  I  call 
your  attention  to  a  law  of  New  Jersey  passed  February  4,  183 1. 
In  the  sixth  section  of  that  act  she  says :  — 

"  Be  it  macted^  That  when  any  other  railroad,  or  roads,  for  the  trans- 
portation of  passengers  and  property  between  New  York  and  Philadel- 
phia, across  this  State,  shall  be  constructed  and  used  for  that  purpose, 
under  or  by  virtue  of  any  law  of  this  State  or  the  United  States^  author- 
izing or  recognizing  said  road,  that  then  and  in  that  case  the  said  divi- 
dends shall  be  no  longer  payable  to  the  State,  and  the  said  stock  shall  be 
re-transferred  to  the  company  by  the  treasurer  of  this  State." 

1  9  Wheaton,  i.       '7  Howard,  283.       •  13  Howard,  518,  and  18  Howard,  421. 


This  law  required  the  acceptance  of  the  company  to  make  it 
valid,  and  the  company  did  accept  it  four  days  after  its  passage. 
A  solemn  compact  —  New  Jersey  is  addicted  to  the  use  of  that 
word  —  was  thus  made  between  the  State  and  the  company, 
that  when  Congress  shall  see  fit  to  authorize  and  establish  a 
road,  or  to  recognize  one  already  established,  then  the  Camden 
and  Amboy  Company  shall  lose  its  special  privileges.  The 
parties  not  only  admit  that  Congress  may  do  it,  but  they  unite 
in  a  solemn  compact  in  which  that  very  action  of  Congress  is  a 
condition.  That,  sir,  is  the  thing  I  desire  Congress  now  to  do ; 
when  it  is  done,  the  monopoly  will  be  dead  forever. 

New  Jersey  took  another  step  in  the  same  direction  in  1854. 
She  extended  the  monopoly  charter  ten  years.  The  law  by 
which  it  is  extended  is  prefaced  by  a  most  extraordinary  pre- 
amble, and  that  may  be  thus  summed  up :  "  Whereas  the  legis- 
lature of  New  Jersey  has  granted  to  the  Camden  and  Amboy 
Railroad  Company  special  and  exclusive  privileges,  in  consid- 
eration of,"  etc.,  etc *'  And  whereas  the  extinguishment 

of  these  privileges  is  a  matter  of  great  public  importance: 
Therefore,  Be  it  enacted,"  etc. 

Mark  that !  The  extinguishment  of  these  privileges  is  a  mat" 
ter  of  great  public  importance  ;  therefore  we  extend  this  monopoly 
for  ten  years !  I  do  not  very  much  admire  the  logic  of  this 
law,  but  I  do  admire  the  preamble  exceedingly.  It  acknowl- 
edges, by  the  voice  of  New  Jersey,  that  it  is  a  matter  of  great 
public  concern  that  this  exclusive  privilege  shall  be  extin- 
guished. I  hope  Congress  will  listen  to  the  desire  of  New  Jer- 
sey, and  aid  her  in  this  good  work. 

Since  this  bill  has  been  before  us,  and  since  I  last  had  the 
honor  to  address  the  House,  we  have  heard  from  the  Governor 
and  the  legislature  of  New  Jersey  in  regard  to  this  bill,  I  ask 
the  indulgence  of  the  House  while  I  read  some  portions  of  the 
proclamation  of  his  Excellency. 

"  In  the  consideration  of  this  question  two  inquiries  naturally  arise : 
First,  would  the  proposed  action  of  Congress,  if  consummated,  affect  the 
pecuniary  interest  of  this  State  ?  Secondly,  and  chiefly^  would  such  action 
in6inge  upon  the  sovereignty  of  the  State  ?   .  .  .  . 

"  It  is  for  you  to  inquire  whether  the  proposed  action  of  Congress 
would  affect  the  interest  of  the  State  in  the  stock,  dividends,  or  transit 
duties  derived  from  said  companies. 

"  But  the  pecuniary  interest  of  the  State  is  of  litde  importance  in  com- 


parison  with  the  principle  involved,  and  I  therefore  direct  your  attention 
particularly  to  the  second  inquiry,  before  mentioned.  New  Jersey  is  a 
sovereign  State,  and  it  is  our  duty,  by  every  lawful  means,  to  protect  and 
defend  her  sovereignty,  and  to  transmit  unimpaired  to  posterity  all  her 
rights  as  they  were  received  by  her  from  our  fathers.  In  the  exercise  of 
her  rightful  powers  she  may  build,  maintain,  and  manage  lines  of  public 
travel  within  her  territory,  and  she  may  grant  to  others  the  right  to  con- 
tract works  under  such  regulations  and  upon  such  conditions  as  she  may 
see  fit  to  impose.  When  the  States  entered  into  the  national  compact 
they  yielded  to  the  general  government  the  right  to  establish  post-roads 
for  the  conveyance  of  mails,  and  power  to  construct  military  roads  in 
time  of  war,  for  the  purpose  of  transportation  of  troops ;  but  even  these 
roads  must  be  operated  by  the  government,  and  not  through  the  agency 
or  for  the  benefit  of  private  corporations.  A  law  of  Congress  to  exceed 
the  powers  granted  by  the  States  infringes  upon  the  reserved  rights,  and 
detracts  from  the  State  legislatures  a  portion  of  their  rightful  authority. 

"  Let  it  be  distinctly  understood  by  those  who  would  inflict  an  indig- 
nity upon  our  State,  that  while  New  Jersey  will  comply  with  every  legal 
obligation,  and  will  respect  and  protect  the  rights  of  all,  she  will  not  per- 
mit any  infringement  of  her  rights  without  resorting  to  every  lawful  means 
to  prevent  it. 

"  Joel  Parker." 

Mr.  Speaker,  this  lifls  our  subject  above  corporations  and 
monopolies  to  the  full  height  of  a  national  question ;  I  might 
almost  call  it  a  question  of  loyalty  or  disloyalty.  His  Excel- 
lency will  find  his  political  doctrines  much  more  ably  and  ele- 
gantly stated  in  Calhoun's  nullification  teachings  of  1833,  than 
in  his  own  message. 

He  says  New  Jersey  is  a  sovereign  State.  I  pause  there  for  a 
moment.  I  believe  that  no  man  will  ever  be  able  to  chronicle 
all  the  evils  that  have  resulted  to  this  nation  from  the  abuse  of 
the  words  "  sovereign  "  and  "  sovereignty."  What  is  this  thing 
called  "State  Sovereignty"?  Nothing  more  false  was  ever 
uttered  in  the  halls  of  legislation  than  that  any  State  of  this 
Union  is  sovereign.  Refresh  your  recollections  of  "  sovereign- 
ty "  as  defined  in  the  elementary  text-books  of  law.  Speaking 
of  the  sovereignty  of  nations,  Blackstone  says :  "  However  they 
began,  by  what  right  so  ever  they  subsist,  there  is  and  must  be 
in  all  of  them  a  supreme,  irresistible,  absolute,  uncontrolled 
authority,  in  which  the  jura  sutntni  imperii,  or  rights  of  sover- 
eignty, reside." 

Do   these   elements   belong  to   any  State  of  this  republic? 


Sovereignty  has  the  right  to  declare  war.  Can  New  Jersey  de- 
clare war?  Sovereignty  has  the  right  to  conclude  peace.  Can 
New  Jersey  conclude  peace  ?  Sovereignty  has  the  right  to  coin 
money.  If  the  legislature  of  New  Jersey  should  authorize 
and  command  one  of  its  citizens  to  coin  half  a  dollar,  that 
man,  if  he  obeyed,  would  be  locked  up  in  a  felon's  cell  for  the 
crime  of  counterfeiting  the  coin  of  the  real  sovereign.  Sover- 
eignty makes  treaties  with  foreign  nations.  Can  New  Jersey 
make  treaties?  Sovereignty  regulates  commerce  with  foreign 
States,  and  puts  ships  in  commission  upon  the  high  seas. 
Should  a  ship  set  sail  under  the  authority  of  New  Jersey,  it 
would  be  seized  as  a  smuggler,  forfeited,  and  sold.  Sover- 
ignty  has  a  flag.  But,  thank  God !  New  Jersey  has  no  flag, 
Ohio  has  no  flag.  No  loyal  State  fights  under  the  "  lone 
star,"  the  "  rattlesnake,"  or  the  "  palmetto-tree."  No  loyal 
State  has  any  flag  but  the  "  banner  of  beauty  and  glory,"  the 
flag  of  the  Union. 

These  are  the  indispensable  elements  of  sovereignty.  New 
Jersey  has  not  one  of  them.  The  term  can  be  applied  only 
to  the  separate  States  in  a  very  limited  and  restricted  sense, 
referring  mainly  to  municipal  and  police  regulations.  The 
rights  of  the  States  should  be  jealously  guarded  and  defended. 
But  to  claim  that  sovereignty  in  its  full  sense  and  mean- 
ing belongs  to  the  States,  is  nothing  better  than  rankest 

Look  again  at  this  document  of  the  Governor  of  New  Jersey. 
He  says  the  States  entered  into  the  national  compact.  National 
compact !  I  had  supposed  that  no  Governor  of  a  loyal  State 
would  parade  this  dead  dogma  of  Nullification  and  Secession, 
which  was  buried  by  Webster  on  the  i6th  of  February,  1833. 
There  was  no  such  thing  as  a  sovereign  State  making  a  com- 
pact called  a  Constitution.  The  very  language  of  the  Consti- 
tution is  decisive :  "  VVe,  the  people  of  the  United  States,  do 
ordain  and  establish  this  Constitution."  The  States  did  not 
make  a  compact  to  be  broken  when  any  one  pleased,  but  the 
people  ordained  and  established  the  Constitution  of  a  sovereign 
republic ;  and  woe  be  to  any  corporation  or  State  that  raises 
its  hand  against  it! 

The  message  closes  with  a  determination  to  resist  the  legisla- 
tion here  proposed.  This  itself  is  another  reason  why  I  ask 
this  Congress  to  exercise  its  right,  and  thus  rebuke  this  spirit  of 


nullification.  The  gentleman  from  Pennsylvania  ^  tells  us  that 
New  Jersey  is  a  loyal  State,  and  thousands  of  her  citizens  are 
in  the  army.  I  am  proud  of  all  the  citizens  of  New  Jersey 
who  are  fighting  in  our  army.  They  are  not  fighting  for  New 
Jersey,  nor  for  the  Camden  and  Amboy  monopoly,  but  for  the 
Union,  as  against  the  nullification  or  rebellion  of  any  State. 
Patriotic  men  of  New  Jersey  in  the  army  and  at  home  are 
groaning  under  this  tyrannical  monopoly,  and  I  hold  it  to 
be  the  high  right  and  duty  of  this  body  to  strike  off  their 

Congress  has  done  similar  work  before.  It  did  it  in  the 
case  of  the  Wheeling  Bridge  across  the  Ohio.  There  is  a  still 
stronger  case.  A  corporation  spanned  the  Ohio  River  at  Steu- 
benville  under  a  charter  granted  by  the  State  of  Virginia,  but 
with  conditions  appended  which  could  not  be  fulfilled.  The 
corporation  came  to  Congress,  and  asked  that  the  bridge  might 
be  declared  a  legal  structure  and  part  of  a  post-road.  By  sol- 
emn law  Congress  declared  it  to  be  a  post-road;  and  no  law 
of  the  State  of  Virginia  or  of  the  State  of  Ohio  to  the  contrary 
can  interfere  with  it.  We  have  used  this  power  hitherto,  but 
we  have  never  before  been  called  upon  to  exercise  it  in  any 
case  so  deserving  as  that  which  gave  rise  to  this  bill. 

^  Mr.  Broomall. 



January  26,  1865. 

On  the  8th  of  February,  1864,  Mr.  G.  H.  Pendleton  introduced  into 
the  House  of  Representatives  a  joint  resolution  to  provide  that  the  heads 
of  the  Executive  Departments  might  occupy  seats  on  the  floor  of  that 
body,  which  was  twice  read,  and  referred  to  a  select  committee  of 
seven.  April  6,  the  measure  came  back  from  the  committee  amended, 
and  accompanied  by  majority  and  minority  reports.  Then  the  subject 
was  recommitted  to  the  committee,  and  a  motion  to  reconsider  the 
recommitment  entered.  May  30,  the  special  committee  was,  by  resolu- 
tion, continued  during  the  present  Congress.  At  the  next  session,  the 
subject  was  discussed  on  the  motion  to  reconsider.  The  resolution  as 
amended  contained  these  sections :  — 

"  That  the  Secretary  of  State,  the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury,  the  Secre- 
tary of  War,  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy,  the  Secretary  of  the  Interior, 
the  Attorney- General,  and  the  Postmaster- General,  shall  be  entitled  to 
occupy  seats  on  the  floor  of  the  House  of  Representatives,  with  the  right 
to  participate  in  debate  upon  matters  relating  to  the  business  of  their 
respective  Departments,  under  such  rules  as  may  be  prescribed  by  the 

"  That  the  said  Secretaries,  the  Attorney- General,  and  the  Postmaster- 
General  shall  attend  the  sessions  of  the  House  of  Representatives,  im- 
mediately on  the  opening  of  the  sittings  on  Mondays  and  Thursdays  of 
each  week,  to  give  information  in  reply  to  questions  which  may  be 
propounded  to  them  under  the  rules  of  the  House." 

The  Committee  also  recommended  certain  amendments  to  the  Rules 
of  the  House,  deemed  necessary  to  carry  the  above  provisions  into  effect 
(see  Congressional  Globe,  January  25,  1865).  The  next  day  Mr.  Gar- 
field delivered  the  following  speech,  in  immediate  reply  to  Mr.  S.  S.  Cox, 
of  Ohio.  On  March  3,  the  resolution  was  laid  aside  informally,  and  no 
action  was  had. 


MR.  SPEAKER,  —  I  will  not  detain  the  House  long  on  this 
subject.  I  know  how  difficult  it  is  to  get  the  attention 
of  members  to  the  consideration  of  a  grave  measure  when  they 
have  just  attended  a  place  of  amusement.  I  know  how  ungrate- 
ful a  task  it  is  to  attempt  to  recall  their  attention  after  the  ex- 
hibition to  which  the  gentleman  from  Ohio  ^  has  treated  them. 
The  gentleman's  speech  sufficiently  proves  that  he  has  read  his 
law  on  the  subject  from  Sergeant  Buzfuz,  and  his  constitutional 
and  legislative  history  from  Tittlebat  Titmouse,  to  whom  he  has 
just  referred ;  for  certainly  the  history  of  legislation,  as  reflected 
in  the  Journals  of  Congress,  gives  no  support  to  his  position. 

I  am  glad,  Mr.  Speaker,  that  we  can,  for  once,  approach  the 
discussion  of  a  measure  on  its  own  merits,  uninfluenced  by  any 
mere  party  considerations.  I  wish  we  might,  in  the  discussion 
of  this  subject,  be  equally  free  from  that  international  jealousy, 
that  hereditary  hatred,  so  frequently  and  unreasonably  mani- 
fested against  Great  Britain.  I  have  noticed  on  the  faces  of 
members  of  the  House  a  smile  of  satisfaction  when  any  speaker 
has  denounced  the  proposal  to  copy  any  custom  of,  or  borrow 
any  experience  from,  the  government  of  England.  No  man  on 
this  floor  is  more  desirous  than  myself  to  see  this  republic 
stand  erect  among  the  nations,  and  grant  to  and  exact  from 
Great  Britain  equal  justice.  I  fully  appreciate  how  little  friend- 
ship she  has  shown  us  in  our  great  national  struggle,  yet  I  will 
not  allow  my  mind  to  be  so  prejudiced  as  not  to  see  the  great- 
ness, the  glory,  and  the  excellence  of  the  British  constitution. 
I  believe  that,  next  to  our  own,  the  constitution  of  Great  Britain 
stands  highest  for  its  wisdom  and  its  security  to  freedom  of  all 
the  constitutions  of  the  civilized  world ;  and  in  some  respects 
it  is  equal  or  superior  to  our  own.  It  does  not  become  us, 
therefore,  to  set  it  aside  as  unworthy  of  our  study,  of  our  care- 
ful observation.  Gentlemen  should  not  forget  that,  in  the  days 
of  George  III.,  England,  as  well  as  America,  emancipated  herself 
from  the  tyranny  of  kingly  prerogative;  and  it  may  be  well 
questioned  whether  the  two  streams  that  sprung  from  that  great 
struggle  have  not  been  flowing  in  parallel  channels  of  equal 
depth  and  greatness,  one  on  this  continent  and  the  other  in  the 
British  islands.  It  may  well  be  doubted  whether  there  is  not  as 
much  popular  freedom  in  the  kingdom  of  Great  Britain  as  in 

*  Mr.  Cox. 


this  republic,  and  more  Parliamentary  security.  A  gentleman 
who  has  lately  crossed  the  sea,  a  man  of  great  ability  and  a 
philosophic  observer,  has  said  to-day  that  the  British  ministry 
is  nothing  more  or  less  than  "  a  committee  of  the  House  of 
Commons."  I  believe  that  he  describes  it  correctly.  I  believe 
that  no  nation  has  a  ministry  so  susceptible  to  the  breath  of 
popular  opinion,  so  readily  influenced  and  so  completely  con- 
trolled by  popular  power,  as  is  the  ministry  of  Great  Britain  by 
the  House  of  Commons.  Let  one  decisive  vote  be  given  against 
the  plans  of  that  ministry,  and  it  is  at  once  dissolved.  It  exists 
by  the  will  of  the  House  of  Commons.  How  does  this  come 
about?  From  the  fact  that,  at  the  very  time  that  we  emanci- 
pated ourselves  from  the  kingly  prerogatives  of  George  III., 
Parliamentary  reforms  in  Great  Britain  emancipated  that  nation 
and  established  Parliamentary  liberty  in  England.  It  does  not, 
therefore,  become  gentlemen  to  appeal  to  our  ancient  preju- 
dices, so  that  we  may  not  learn  anything  from  that  great  and 
wise  system  of  government  adopted  by  our  neighbors  across 
the  sea. 

In  the  consideration  of  this  question  I  shall  touch  upon  three 
leading  points:  first,  the  precedents  from  our  own  history; 
second,  the  constitutionality  of  the  proposed  measure,  as  ex- 
hibited in  the  early  discussions  and  laws;  and  third,  the  policy 
of  the  measure. 

The  precedents  cited  by  the  gentleman  from  Ohio,^  the  chair- 
man of  the  select  committee,  in  his  very  able  report,  estab- 
lish beyond  all  question  that,  in  the  early  days  of  the  republic 
under  the  Constitution,  the  heads  of  Departments  did  come 
upon  the  floor  of  Congress  and  make  communications.  No 
man,  I  believe,  has  denied  that;  I  think  no  gentleman  can  suc- 
cessfully deny  it.  My  friend  from  Vermont,^  if  I  understand 
him,  denies  that  they  did  more  than  to  meet  the  Senate  in  execu- 
tive session.  I  am  glad  to  see  that  the  gentleman  assents  to  my 
statement  of  his  position.  I  will  now  cite  two  examples  where 
the  head  of  a  Department  came  on  the  floor  of  the  House  and 
made  statements.  If  the  gentleman  will  turn  to  the  first  volume 
of  the  Annals  of  Congress,  he  will  find  the  following  entry 
under  date  of  August  7,  1789:  "The  following  message  was 
received  from  the  President  of  the  United  States  by  General 
Knox,  the  Secretary  of  War,  who  delivered  therewith  sundry 

1  Mr.  Pendleton.  2  Mr.  Morrill. 


statements."  ^  Some  gentlemen  may  say  those  statements  were 
in  writing.  I  ask  them  to  listen  a  little  further :  "  who  deliv- 
ered therewith  sundry  statements  and  papers  relating  to  the 
same."  So  the  Secretary  of  War  came  to  the  House  of  Repre- 
sentatives and  made  statements. 

Mr.  Morrill.  I  will  say  to  the  gentleman  from  Ohio,  that  I  take 
that  to  mean  nothing  more  than  what  the  private  secretary  of  the  Presi- 
dent now  does  every  day.  At  that  time  the  President  of  the  United 
States  had  no  private  secretary,  but  he  used  the  members  of  the  Cabinet 
for  that  purpose,  and  for  that  purpose  here  only. 

I  should  like  to  ask  my  friend  from  Vermont  whether  the 
private  secretary  of  the  President  makes  any  statements  except 
the  mere  announcement  of  the  message  which  he  delivers? 

Mr.  Morrill.  I  take  it  that  that  was  all  that  was  contemplated 
then.  We  daily  have  communications  from  the  President,  containing 
more  than  one  document,  statement,  or  paper. 

My  friend  from  Vermont  has  assisted  me.  He  now  makes 
the  point  that  the  expression  "  statements,"  here  referred  to,  is 
merely  the  announcement  of  a  message.  I  call  his  attention  to 
the  second  case  which  I  will  cite  from  the  same  volume.  On 
the  loth  of  August,  1789,  the  President  sent  in  a  message  by 
the  hands  of  General  Knox,  "  who  delivered  the  same,  together 
with  a  statement  of  the  troops  in  the  service  of  the  United 
States."^  He  made  to  the  House  of  Representatives  statements 
about  troops  in  the  service,  so  that  the  statements  referred  to 
are  not  merely  statements  of  the  fact  that  he  delivered  a  mes- 
sage from  the  President. 

Mr.  Morrili-  I  do  not  like  to  interrupt  the  gentleman  from  Ohio, 
but  I  must  insist  that  his  second  instance  does  not  prove  the  fact  which 
he  assumes.  He  will  find,  if  he  will  proceed  further  on  in  the  same 
volume,  that  when  the  question  came  up  distinctly  upon  allowing  the 
Secretary  of  the  Treasury  to  come  in  here  for  once,  and  once  only,  it 
was  then  declared  that  it  would  be  setting  a  new  precedent,  one  which 
they  could  not  tolerate,  and  which  they  did  not  tolerate,  but  voted  down 
after  discussion. 

The  gentleman  has  helped  to  pioneer  my  way  handsomely 
thus  far.  I  shall  consider  the  very  example  to  which  he  refers, 
and  which  I  have  examined  with  some  care,  under  my  second 
point,  —  the  discussions  in  the  Congress  of  the  United  States 

1  Page  709.  »  Page  716. 


touching  the  constitutionality  of  the  proposed  law.  There  were 
discussions  at  five  different  periods  in*  the  history  of  Congress, 
and  only  five,  so  far  as  I  have  found,  touching  this  general 

The  first  occurred  in  the  First  Congress,  when  it  was  pro- 
posed to  establish  executive  departments.  On  the  19th  of  May, 
1789,  Mr.  Boudinot,  of  New  Jersey,  moved  that  the  House  pro- 
ceed, pursuant  to  the  provisions  of  the  Constitution,  to  estab- 
lish executive  departments  of  the  government,  the  chief  officers 
thereof  to  be  removable  at  the  will  of  the  President.  Under 
that  resolution  arose  a  full  discussion  of  the  nature  of  the  offices 
to  be  created,  by  whom  the  officers  were  to  be  appointed,  and 
by  whom  removed.  The  discussion  covers  forty  or  fifty  pages 
of  the  volume  before  me,  and  embraces  some  of  the  very  ablest 
expositions  of  the  Constitution  to  be  found  in  the  early  annals 
of  Congress.  After  this  long  discussion  the  following  results 
were  arrived  at,  which  will  answer  some  of  the  points  just  made 
by  my  colleague  from  Ohio.^  First,  it  was  decided  that  the 
departments  were  to  be  established  by  Congress,  and  the  duties 
and  general  scope  of  powers  vested  therein  were  to  be  estab- 
lished by  law ;  but  the  incumbents  of  these  offices  were  to  be 
appointed  by  the  President,  and  removed  at  his  pleasure.  It 
was  clearly  determined,  in  the  second  place,  that  these  officers 
could  be  removed  in  two  ways :  first,  by  the  President ;  second, 
by  impeachment  in  the  usual  modes  prescribed  in  the  Consti- 
tution. It  was  thus  settled,  in  this  great  discussion,  not,  as  is 
said  by  my  colleague  who  has  just  taken  his  seat,  that  Cabinet 
ministers  are  the  creatures  of  the  President  and  responsible  to 
him  alone,  but  that  their  very  Departments  and  their  whole 
organization  depend  in  every  case  upon  the  law  of  Congress, 
and  they  are  themselves  subject  to  impeachment  for  neglect  of 
their  duties,  or  violation  of  their  obligations,  in  those  offices. 

The  second  discussion  occurred  in  the  same  year  when  the 
Treasury  Department  was  established,  and  in  that  instance  the 
discussion  became  more  precise  and  critical,  bearing  more 
nearly  upon  the  particular  question  now  before  us.  A  clause 
was  introduced  into  the  law  establishing  the  Treasury  Depart- 
ment, providing  that  the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury  should  be 
directed  to  prepare  plans  for  the  redemption  of  the  public  debt, 
and  for  all  the  different  measures  relating  to  his  Department; 

1  Mr.  Cox. 
VOL.  I  5 


and  "  that  he  shall  make  report,  and  give  information  to  either 
branch  of  the  Legislature,  in  person  or  in  writing,  as  may  be 
required,  respecting  all  matters  referred  to  him  by  the  Senate 
or  House  of  Representatives,  or  which  shall  appertain  to  his 
office."  The  debate  took  a  very  wide  range.  It  was  objected 
by  several  members  that  the  provision  was  unconstitutional,  on 
the  ground  that  the  House  was  the  only  power  authorized  to 
originate  money  bills,  and  that  such  an  enactment  would  put 
that  power  in  the  hands  of  the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury.  A 
very  long  discussion  ensued  on  what  was  meant  by  **  originating 
a  bill."  Some  contended  that  to  draft  a  bill  was  to  originate 
it;  others,  that  no  proposed  measure  was  a  "bill"  until  the 
House  had  passed  it ;  while  others  again  said  that  it  was  a  bill 
whenever  the  House  authorized  it  to  be  introduced.  Finally  it 
was  determined  that  there  wai&  nothing  incompatible  with  the 
Constitution  in  allowing  the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury  to  report 
plans  and  prepare  drafts  of  bills.  It  was  thus  settled,  and  has 
been  the  policy  of  the  government  till  the  present  day,  that  the 
Secretary  of  the  Treasury  may  properly  draft  bills  and  prepare 
plans  and  present  them  to  Congress.  And  it  is  still  a  part  of 
pur  law,  —  I  have  the  provision  before  me,  —  **  that  the  Secre- 
tary of  the  Treasury  shall  make  report,  and  give  information 
to  either  branch  of  the  Legislature,  in  person  or  in  writing, 
as  may  be  required."  Let  it  be  understood  that  in  the  First 
Congress  of  the  United  States  a  law  was  passed,  —  approved, 
Sept.  2,  1789,  by  George  Washington,  acted  upon  before  in 
the  House  and  in  the  Senate  by  the  men  who  framed  the 
'  Constitution,  —  which  law  provided  that  it  should  be  the  duty 
of  the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury  to  report  his  plans  in  writing 
or  in  person,  as  either  House  might  require. 

Mr.  Morrill.  I  desire  to  ask  the  gentleman  a  question.  When  the 
Secretary  had  made  out  his  plan  in  pursuance  of  the  resolution  by  which 
he  was  authorized  to  make  it,  did  not  the  House,  on  the  very  first  occa- 
sion when  it  could  take  action  on  the  subject,  distinctly  discuss  the  ques- 
tion, and  refuse  him  the  privilege  of  reporting  in  person  ? 

I  am  coming,  in  a  moment,  to  that  precise  point.  The  whole 
question  of  the  undue  influence  which  it  might  give  to  the 
executive  Departments  to  allow  Cabinet  officers  to  make  their 
reports  was  fully  examined ;  and  after  the  fullest  and  freest  dis- 
cussion, which,  even  in  a  condensed  form,  covers  some  twenty 


pages  of  the  book  before  me,  the  measure  was  passed  without 
even  a  division,  and  became  the  law  of  the  land. 

I  now  come  to  the  point  to  which  the  gentleman  from  Ver- 
mont has  referred,  —  the  third  of  the  five  discussions.  On  the 
9th  of  January,  1790,  the  House  received  a  communication 
from  the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury  stating  that,  in  obedience 
to  their  resolution  of  the  21st  of  September  previous,  he  had 
prepared  a  draft  of  a  plan  for  funding  the  public  debt,  and  was 
ready,  at  their  pleasure,  to  report,  —  it  being  settled  in  the  law, 
as  I  have  already  said,  that  he  should  report  in  person  or  in 
writing,  as  he  might  be  directed.  The  question  was  discussed, 
as  the  gentleman  from  Vermont  noticed  in  his  examination  of 
the  case  yesterday.  Mr.  Gerry  moved  that  the  report  should 
be  made  in  writing.  The  question,  whether  it  should  be  made 
in  writing  or  orally  was  discussed,  and  the  chief  argument  used 
in  the  case  was,  that  it  would  be  impossible  for  members  of 
Congress  to  understand  it  unless  it  was  reduced  to  writing,  so 
that  they  could  have  it  before  them.  It  was  also  said  that  the 
scope  and  bearing  of  the  whole  report  would  be  so  extensive 
that  the  human  mind  could  not  comprehend  the  whole  of  it, 
unless  they  could  have  it  before  them  in  a  permanent  shape. 
It  was  conceded  by  several  who  spoke,  that  the  House  could 
have  the  report  made  in  writing,  or  orally,  or  in  writing  with 
accompanying  oral  explanations.  The  constitutional  doubt  was 
not  suggested  in  that  discussion.  It  was  decided,  without  a 
division,  not  that  the  Secretary  should  not  be  permitted  to  come 
into  the  House,  but  that  his  report  should  be  in  writing.  The 
law  still  stood,  as  it  now  stands,  that  he  shall  report  in  person 
or  in  writing,  as  either  House  may  direct. 

The  fourth  discussion  related  to  the  defeat  of  General  St. 
Clair.  I  will  remind  the  House  of  the  history  of  that  case.  In 
1791,  St.  Clair  was  ordered  to  lead  an  expedition  against  the 
Indians  in  the  Northwestern  Territory ;  his  army  was  disgrace- 
fully defeated ;  the  case  was  referred  to  General  Washington, 
who  declined  to  order  a  court  of  inquiry;  and  the  subject  was 
taken  up  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  and  on  the  27th  of 
March,  1792,  a  committee  was  ordered  to  inquire  into  the  causes 
of  the  failure  of  the  expedition.  On  the  8th  of  May  following, 
the  committee  made  a  report  which  reflected  severely  upon  the 
Secretary  of  the  Treasury  and  the  Secretary  of  War.  On  the 
13th  of  November,  1792,  a  resolution  was  introduced  into  the 


House  to  notify  the  two  Secretaries  that  on  the  following 
Wednesday  the  House  would  take  the  report  into  consideration, 
and  that  they  might  attend.  After  a  considerable  discussion, 
the  resolution  was  negatived,  and  it  was  resolved  to  empower 
a  special  committee  of  the  House  to  send  for  persons  and 
papers  in  the  case.  On  the  following  day  the  Secretary  of 
War,  General  Knox,  addressed  a  letter  to  the  Speaker  of  the 
House,  asking  an  opportunity  to  vindicate  himself  before  the 
House.  It  was  said  by  the  gentleman  from  Vermont,  yesterday, 
that  General  Knox  was  not  permitted  to  come  in.  A  discussion 
of  the  subject  followed  the  presentation  of  his  request.  The 
House  had  not  been  satisfied  with  the  report,  and  recommitted 
it  to  the  committee  for  further  examination.  After  the  recom- 
mitment of  the  report,  the  Secretaries  were  brought  before  the 
committee  and  examined,  so  that  their  testimony  reached  the 
House  in  that  mode.  The  question  was  never  put  to  the  House 
whether  they  would  or  would  not  receive  the  Secretaries  in  the 
House,  but  whether  they  should  adopt  the  report,  or  recommit 
it  and  order  the  committee  to  take  further  testimony.  They 
did  the  latter.  The  proposition  to  admit  them  to  the  House 
was  not  directly  acted  upon  at  all. 

Before  leaving  this  branch  of  the  subject  I  must  refer  to  the 
opinion  of  Mr.  Madison  as  expressed  in  the  debate  of  Novem- 
ber 13,  1792,  on  the  question  of  admitting  the  Secretaries  to  the 
House  to  take  part  in  the  investigation  of  St.  Clair.  This  was 
the  only  quotation,  I  believe,  which  the  gentleman  from  Ver- 
mont found  to  apply  directly  to  the  point  at  issue.  It  is  true 
that  Mr.  Madison  did  say  he  objected  to  the  House  resolution 
on  constitutional  grounds.^  But  he  did  not  state  what  those 
constitutional  grounds  were.  It  is  a  little  remarkable  that  he 
who  had  in  1789  spoken  and  voted  for  the  Treasury  Act  au- 
thorizing the  Secretary  to  report  in  person  or  in  writing,  as 
either  House  might  direct,  should  declare  only  three  years  later 
that  it  was  unconstitutional  to  let  the  Secretary  come  before  the 
House  to  give  information  or  testimony.  Perhaps,  sir,  a  little 
light  from  history  will  help  to  explain  Mr.  Madison's  singular 
position.  My  friend  from  Vermont  will  remember  that  within 
those  three  years  Mr.  Madison  and  Mr.  Hamilton  had  become 
seriously  alienated  from  each  other,  and  the  gifted  authors  of 
the  Federalist  were  friends  no  longer.     The  great  party  strife 

^  See  Annals,  Second  Congress,  p.  680. 


had  begun,  and  they  had  taken  opposite  sides,  Mr.  Jefferson 
leading  one  party,  Mr.  Madison  following;  and,  Mr.  Hamilton 
leading  the  other,  his  friends,  the  Federalists,  following  him.  It 
is  not,  therefore,  very  surprising  that  Mr.  Madison  should  have 
been  influenced,  like  others,  by  personal  feeling,  or  at  least  by 
his  political  differences  with  the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury.  It 
is  well  known  that  his  political  opinions  were  greatly  changed 
by  the  influence  of  Mr.  Jefferson. 

The  fifth  and  last  discussion  to  which  I  shall  refer  occurred 
on  the  19th  of  November,*  1792,  on  a  resolution  of  the  House 
directing  the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury  to  report  a  plan  for  the 
reduction  of  the  public  debt.  The  question  of  the  constitu- 
tionality of  his  reporting  a  plan  at  all,  again  arose.  The  whole 
ground  was  again  gone  over.  Notwithstanding  Madison's  rec- 
ord in  1789,  he  opposed  the  resolution;  but  it  was  passed 
against  him  by  the  decisive  vote  of  thirty-one  to  twenty-five. 
So  that  even  down  to  that  day,  after  parties  had  taken  their 
groundi-'after  Madison  and  Hamilton  had  become  antagonistic, 
after  all  the  fierceness  of  personal  feeling  was  awakened,  still 
the  House  determined  that  the  law  should  stand  as  it  was 
enacted  by  the  First  Congress. 

As  the  result  of  all  these  discussions,  the  custom  obtained  to 
receive  reports  and  information  from  the  heads  of  Departments 
in  writing  rather  than  in  person.  That  custom  has  now  almost 
the  force  of  law.  But  while  the  Treasury  Act  of  1789  remains 
on  our  statute-book,  we  have  a  clear  right  to  change  the  cus- 
tom. I  claim  that,  by  a  simple  resolution  of  the  House  of  Rep- 
resentatives alone,  we  can  now  call  the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury 
here  to  explain  in  person  any  plan  or  measure  of  his,  and  he  is 
bound  to  come.  The  Senate  can  do  the  same  for  itself.  The 
very  law  which  establishes  his  office  and  builds  up  his  Depart- 
ment makes  it  obligatory  upon  him  to  come  when  thus  ordered. 
This  is  true  only  of  the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury. 

I  hold  it,  then,  fairly  established,  that  the  measure  before  us 
is  clearly  within  the  scope  of  our  constitutional  powers ;  that  it 
is  only  a  question  how  a  thing  shall  be  done,  the  thing  to  be 
done  being  already  provided  by  law.  The  heads  of  Depart- 
ments do  now  make  known  their  plans  and  views ;  they  do  now 
communicate  to  the  House  all  that  this  resolution  contemplates 
that  they  shall  communicate.  It  is  only  a  question  of  mode. 
They  now  communicate  with  the  pen.    This  resolution  proposes 


to  add  the  tongue  to  the  pen,  the  voice  to  the  document,  the 
explanation  to  the  text,  and  nothing  more.  It  is  simply  a 
proposition  to  add  to  our  facilities  by  having  the  Secretaries 
here  to  explain  orally  what  they  have  already  transmitted  in 
documentary  form. 

And  this  brings  me  to  the  third  and  last  point  that  I  propose 
to  examine  in  this  discussion,  —  the  policy  of  the  proposed 
change,  on  which,  I  admit,  there  is  much  room  for  difference  of 
opinion.  The  committee  have  given  a  very  exhaustive  state- 
ment of  its  advantages  in  their  report,  and  I  will  only  enlarge 
upon  a  few  points  in  their  statement. 

And,  first  of  all,  the  proposed  change  will  increase  our  facili- 
ties for  full  and  accurate  information  as  the  basis  of  legislative 
action.  There  are  some  gentlemen  here  who  doubt  whether  we 
have  a  right  to  demand  information  from  the  heads  of  Depart- 
ments. Do  we  get  that  information  as  readily,  as  quickly,  and  as 
fully  as  we  need  it?  Let  me  read  an  extract  illustrative  of  the 
present  plan.  The  President  of  the  United  States,  in  his  last 
annual  message  to  Congress,  says :  "  The  Report  of  the  Sec- 
retary of  War,  and  accompanying  documents,  will  detail  the 
campaigns  of  the  armies  in  the  field  since  the  date  of  the  last 
annual  message,  and  also  the  operations  of  the  several  adminis- 
trative bureaus  of  the  War  Department  during  the  last  year. 
It  will  also  specify  the  measures  deemed  essential  for  the  national 
defence,  and  to  keep  up  and  supply  the  requisite  military  force." 
Has  that  report  been  received  ?  This  message  was  delivered  to 
us  at  the  commencement  of  the  present  session;  we  are  now 
within  five  weeks  of  its  close ;  but  to  this  hour  we  have  had  no 
report  from  the  Secretary  of  War,  no  official  advice  from  him  in 
reference  to  the  "  measures  deemed  essential  for  the  national 
defence,  and  to  keep  up  and  supply  the  requisite  military  force." 
We  have  been  working  in  the  dark,  and  it  is  only  as  we  have 
reconnoitred  the  War  Department,  and  forced  ourselves  in 
sidewise  and  edgewise,  that  we  have  been  able  to  learn  what  is 
considered  essential  for  the  national  defence.  Had  this  resolu- 
tion been  in  force,  we  should  long  ago  have  had  his  report  in 
our  hands,  or  his  good  and  sufficient  reason  for  withhold- 
ing it. 

I  call  the  attention  of  the  House  to  the  fact,  that  our  table 
is  groaning  under  the  weight  of  resolutions  asking  information 
from  the  several  Departments  that  have  not  been  answered. 


Who  does  not  remember  that,  at  a  very  early  day  of  the  session, 
a  resolution,  introduced  by  a  member  from  Indiana,^  was  unan- 
imously adopted,  asking  why  the  order  of  the  House  had  been 
neglected,  and  we  had  not  been  furnished  with  the  information  ? 
But  this  also  has  fallen  a  brutum  fulmen  ;  we  have  received  no 
answer.  Could  these  things  be,  if  the  members  of  the  legisla- 
tive and  executive  departments  were  sitting  in  council  together? 
Should  we  not  long  ago  have  had  the  information,  or  known 
the  reason  why  we  did  not  have  it? 

On  the  subject  of  information,  I  have  a  word  more  to  say. 
We  want  information  more  in  detail  than  we  can  get  by  the 
present  mode.  For  example,  it  would  have  aided  many  of  us, 
a  few  days  since,  when  the  Loan  Bill  was  under  consideration, 
if  the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury  had  been  here  to  tell  us  pre- 
cisely what  he  intended  in  regard  to  an  increase  of  the  volume 
of  the  currency  under  the  provisions  of  the  bill.  We  want  to 
understand  each  other  thoroughly;  and  when  this  is  done,  it 
will  remove  a  large  share  of  the  burdens  of  legislation. 

One  other  point  on  the  policy  of  the  measure.  I  want  this 
joint  resolution  passed  to  readjust  the  relations  between  the 
executive  and  legislative  departments,  and  to  readjust  them  so 
that  there  shall  be  greater  responsibility  to  the  legislative  de- 
partment than  there  now  is,  and  that  that  responsibility  shall 
be  made  to  rest  with  greater  weight  upon  the  shoulders  of  the 
executive  authority.  I  am  surprised  that  both  the  gentleman 
from  Vermont  and  the  gentleman  from  Ohio  declare  that  this 
measure  would  aggrandize  the  executive  authority.  I  must  say 
that,  to  me,  it  is  one  objection  to  this  plan,  that  it  may  have 
exactly  the  opposite  effect.  I  believe,  Mr.  Speaker,  that  the 
fame  of  Jefferson  is  waning,  and  the  fame  of  Hamilton  wax- 
ing, in  the  estimation  of  the  American  people,  and  that  we 
are  gravitating  towards  a  stronger  government  I  am  glad  we 
are,  and  I  hope  this  measure  will  cause  the  heads  of  Depart- 
ments to  become  so  thoroughly  acquainted  with  the  details  of 
their  office  as  to  compensate  for  the  restrictions  imposed  upon 
them.  Who  does  not  know  that  the  enactment  of  this  law  will 
tend  to  bring  our  ablest  men  into  the  Cabinet  of  the  republic? 
Who  does  not  know  that,  if  a  man  is  to  be  responsible  for  his 
executive  acts,  and  also  be  able  to  tell  why  he  proposes  new 
measures,  and  to  comprehend  intelligently  the  whole  scope  of 

1  Mr.  Holman. 


his  duties,  weak  men  will  shrink  from  taking  such  places? 
Who  does  not  know  that  it  will  call  out  the  best  talent  of  the 
land,  both  executive  and  parliamentary?  What  is  the  fact  now? 
I  venture  to  assert,  that  the  mass  of  our  executive  information 
comes  from  the  heads  of  bureaus,  or  perhaps  from  the  chief 
clerks  of  bureaus,  or  other  subordinates  unknown  to  the  legisla- 
tive body.  I  would  have  it,  that,  when  these  men  bring  infor- 
mation before  us,  they  shall  themselves  be  possessed  of  the  last 
items  of  that  information,  so  that  they  can  explain  them  as 
fully  as  the  chairman  of  the  Committee  of  Ways  and  Means 
ever  explains  his  measures  when  he  offers  them  to  the  House. 

One  more  word,  Mr.  Speaker.  Instead  of  seeing  the  picture 
which  the  gentleman  from  Ohio^  has  painted  to  attract  our 
minds  from  the  subject-matter  itself  to  the  mere  gaudiness  of 
his  farcical  display,  instead  of  seeing  that  unworthy  and  un- 
manly exhibition  in  this  House  which  he  has  described,  I  would 
see  in  its  place  the  executive  heads  of  the  government  giving 
information  to,  and  consulting  with,  the  representatives  of  the 
people  in  an  open  and  undisguised  way.  Sir,  the  danger  to 
American  liberty  is  not  from  open  contact  with  departments, 
but  from  that  unseen,  intangible  influence  which  characterizes 
courts,  crowns,  and  cabinets.  Who  does  not  know,  and  who 
does  not  feel,  how  completely  the  reason  of  a  member  may  be 
stultified  by  the  written  dictum  of  some  head  of  Department, 
that  he  thinks  a  measure  good  or  bad,  wise  or  unwise?  I  want 
that  head  of  Department  to  tell  me  why ;  I  want  him  to  appeal 
to  my  reason,  and  not  lecture  me  ex  catkedrUy  and  desire  me  to 
follow  his  lead  just  because  he  leads.  I  do  not  believe  in  any 
prescriptive  right  to  determine  what  legislation  shall  be.  No, 
sir;  it  is  the  silent,  secret  influence  that  saps  and  undermines 
the  fabric  of  republics,  and  not  the  open  appeal,  the  collision 
between  intellects,  the  array  of  facts. 

I  hope,  Mr.  Speaker,  that  this  measure  will  be  fairly  con- 
sidered. If  it  do  not  pass  now,  the  day  will  come,  I  believe, 
when  it  will  pass.  When  that  day  comes,  I  expect  to  see  a 
higher  type  of  American  statesmanship,  not  only  in  the  Cabinet, 
but  also  in  the  legislative  halls. 

1  Mr.  Cox. 



January  13,  1865. 

February  10,  1864,  Mr.  Lyman  Trambull,  of  Illinois,  reported  to  the 
Senate,  from  the  Committee  on  the  Judiciary,  this  Joint  Resolution :  — 

"  Be  it  resolved,  etc.,  etc..  That  the  following  article  be  proposed  to  the 
Legislatures  of  the  several  States  as  an  amendment  to  the  Constitution 
of  the  United  States,  which,  when  ratified  by  three  fourths  of  said  Legis- 
latures, shall  be  valid,  to  all  intents  and  purposes,  as  a  part  of  the  said 
Constitution,  namely :  — 

"Article  XIII.  Sect.  i.  Neither  slavery  nor  involuntary  servitude, 
except  as  a  punishment  for  crime  whereof  the  party  shall  have  been 
duly  convicted,  shall  exist  within  the  United  States,  or  any  place  subject 
to  their  jurisdiction. 

"Sect.  2.  Congress  shall  have  power  to  enforce  this  article  by  appro- 
priate legislation." 

April  8  following,  this  resolution  passed  the  Senate.  June  15,  it  was 
rejected  in  the  House.  The  same  day,  a  motion  to  reconsider  the  vote 
was  entered.  At  the  next  session,  January  6,  1865,  ^^^  motion  to  recon- 
sider was  taken  up  and  discussed  at  length.  On  this  motion,  January  13, 
Mr.  Garfield  made  the  speech  that  follows.  The  31st  of  the  same  month 
the  question  to  reconsider  carried,  and  the  same  day  the  resolution  was 
adopted.  December  18,  1865,  the  Secretary  of  State,  Mr.  Seward,  issued 
his  certificate  to  the  effect  that,  the  requisite  number  of  States  having 
ratified  the  proposed  amendment,  it  had  become  valid  to  all  mtents  and 
purposes  as  a  part  of  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States. 

MR.  SPEAKER,  —  We  shall  never  know  why  slavery  dies  so 
hard  in  this  republic  and  in  this  hall  till  we  know  why  sin 
has  such  longevity  and  Satan  is  immortal.  With  marvellous 
tenacity  of  existence,  it  has  outlived  the  expectations  of  its 


friends  and  the  hopes  of  its  enemies.  It  has  been  declared  here 
and  elsewhere  to  be  in  all  the  several  stages  of  mortality,  — 
wounded,  dying,  dead.  The  question  was  raised  by  my  col- 
league^ yesterday  whether  it  was  indeed  dead,  or  only  in  a 
troubled  sleep.  I  know  of  no  better  illustration  of  its  condition 
than  is  found  in  Sallust's  admirable  history  of  the  great  conspir- 
ator Catiline,  who,  when  his  final  battle  was  fought  and  lost,  his 
army  broken  and  scattered,  was  found,  far  in  advance  of  his  own 
troops,  lying  among  the  dead  enemies  of  Rome,  yet  breathing  a 
little,  but  exhibiting  in  his  countenance  all  that  ferocity  of  spirit 
which  had  characterized  his  life.  So,  sir,  this  body  of  slavery 
lies  before  us  among  the  dead  enemies  of  the  republic,  mortally 
wounded,  impotent  in  its  fiendish  wickedness,  but  with  its  old 
ferocity  of  look,  bearing  the  unmistakable  marks  of  its  infernal 

Who  does  not  remember  that  thirty  years  ago — a  short  period 
in  the  life  of  a  nafion  —  but  little  could  be  said  with  impunity  in 
these  halls  on  the  subject  of  slavery?  How  well  do  gentlemen 
here  remember  the  history  of  that  distinguished  predecessor  of 
mine,  Joshua  R.  Giddings,  lately  gone  to  his  rest,  who,  with  his 
forlorn  hope  of  faithful  men,  took  his  life  in  his  hand,  and  in  the 
name  of  justice  protested  against  the  great  crime,  and  who  stood 
bravely  in  his  place  until  his  white  locks,  like  the  plume  of 
Henry  of  Navarre,  marked  where  the  battle  for  freedom  raged 
fiercest !  We  can  hardly  realize  that  this  is  the  same  people, 
and  these  the  same  halls,  where  now  scarcely  a  man  can  be 
found  who  will  venture  to  do  more  than  falter  out  an  apology 
for  slavery,  protesting  in  the  same  breath  that  he  has  no  love  for 
the  dying  tyrant  None,  I  believe,  but  that  man  of  more  than 
supernal  boldness  from  the  city  of  New  York,^  has  ventured,  this 
session,  to  raise  his  voice  in  favor  of  slavery  for  its  own  sake. 
He  still  sees  in  its  features  the  reflection  of  beauty  and  divinity, 
and  only  he.  "  How  art  thou  fallen  from  heaven,  O  Lucifer, 
son  of  the  morning !  How  art  thou  cut  down  to  the  ground, 
which  didst  weaken  the  nations !  "  Many  mighty  men  have 
been  slain  by  thee ;  many  proud  ones  have  humbled  themselves 
at  thy  feet.  All  along  the  coast  of  our  political  sea  these  vic- 
tims of  slavery  lie  like  stranded  wrecks,  broken  on  the  headlands 
of  freedom.  How  lately  did  its  advocates,  with  impious  bold- 
ness, maintain  it  as  God's  own,  to  be  venerated  and  cherished  as 

1  Mr.  Cox.  a  Mr.  Wood. 


divine !  It  was  another  and  higher  form  of  civilization.  It  was 
the  holy  evangel  of  America  dispensing  its  mercies  to  a  benighted 
race,  and  destined  to  bear  countless  blessings  to  the  wilder- 
ness of  the  West.  In  its  mad  arrogance,  it  lifted  its  hand  to 
strike  down  the  fabric  of  the  Union,  and  since  that  fatal  day  it 
has  been  a  "  fugitive  and  a  vagabond  in  the  earth."  Like  the 
spirit  that  Jesus  cast  out,  it  has,  since  then,  been  "  seeking  rest 
and  finding  none."  It  has  sought  in  all  the  corners  of  the 
republic  to  find  some  hiding-place  in  which  to  shelter  itself  from 
the  death  it  so  richly  deserves.  It  sought  an  asylum  in  the 
untrodden  territories  of  the  West,  but  with  a  whip  of  scorpions 
indignant  freemen  drove  it  thence.  I  do  not  believe  that  a  loyal 
man  can  now  be  found  who  would  consent  that  it  should  again 
enter  them.  It  has  no  hope  of  harbor  there.  It  found  no  pro- 
tection or  favor  in  the  hearts  or  consciences  of  the  freemen  of 
the  republic,  and  has  fled  for  its  last  hope  of  safety  behind  the 
shield  of  the  Constitution.  We  propose  to 'follow  it  there,  and 
drive  it  thence,  as  Satan  was  exiled  from  heaven.  But  now,  in 
the  hour  of  its  mortal  agony,  in  this  hall,  it  has  found  a 

My  gallant  colleague^  (for  I  recognize  him  as  a  gallant  and 
able  man)  plants  himself  at  the  door  of  his  darling,  and  bids  de- 
fiance to  all  assailants.  He  has  followed  slavery  in  its  flight, 
until  at  last  it  has  reached  the  great  temple  where  liberty  is  en- 
shrined, the  Constitution  of  the  United  States ;  and  there,  in  that 
last  retreat,  declares  that  no  hand  shall  strike  it.  He  reminds 
me  of  that  celebrated  passage  in  the  great  Latin  poet  in  which 
the  serpents  of  the  sea,  when  they  had  destroyed  Laocoon  and 
his  sons,  fled  to  the  heights  of  the  Trojan  citadel,  and  coiled 
their  slimy  lengths  around  the  feet  of  the  tutelar  goddess,  and 
were  covered  by  the  orb  of  her  shield.  So,  under  the  guidance 
of  my  colleague,  slavery,  gorged  with  the  blood  of  ten  thousand 
freemen,  has  climbed  to  the  high  citadel  of  American  nationality, 
and  coiled  itself  securely,  as  he  believes,  around  the  feet  of  the 
statue  of  Justice  and  under  the  shield  of  the  Constitution  of  the 
United  States.  We  desire  to  follow  it  even  there,  and  kill  it 
beside  the  very  altar  of  liberty.  Its  blood  can  never  make 
atonement  for  the  least  of  its  crimes. 

But  the  gentleman  has  gone  further.  He  is  not  content  that 
the  snaky  sorceress  shall  be  merely  wider  the  protection  of  the 

1  Mr.  Pendleton. 


Constitution.  In  his  view,  by  a  strange  metamorphosis,  slavery 
becomes  an  invisible  essence,  and  takes  up  its  abode  in  the  very 
grain  and  fibre  of  the  Constitution ;  and  when  we  would  strike 
it,  he  says :  "  I  cannot  point  out  any  express  clause  that  prohibits 
you  from  destroying  slavery;  but  I  find  a  prohibition  in  the 
intent  and  meaning  of  the  Constitution,  t  go  under  the  surface, 
out  of  sight,  into  the  very  genius  of  it,  and  in  that  invisible 
domain  slavery  is  enshrined,  and  there  is  no  power  in  the  republic 
to  drive  it  thence."  That  I  may  do  no  injustice  to  my  colleague, 
I  will  read  from  his  speech  of  day  before  yesterday  the  passage 
to  which  I  refer :  — 

"My  colleague  from  the  Toledo  district,^  in  the  speech  which  he 
made  the  other  day,  told  us,  with  reference  to  this  point :  *  If  I  read  the 
Constitution  aright,  and  understand  the  force  of  language,  the  section 
which  I  have  just  quoted  is  to-day  free  from  all  limitations  and  condi- 
tions save  two,  one  of  which  provides  that  the  suffrage  of  the  several 
States  in  tlie  Senate  shall  be  equal,  and  that  no  State  shall  lose  this 
equality  by  any  amendment  of  the  Constitution  without  its  consent; 
the  other  relates  to  taxation.  These  are  the  only  conditions  and  limita- 
tions.* I  deny  it.  I  assert  that  there  is  another  limitation  stronger  even 
than  the  letter  of  the  Constitution ;  and  that  is  to  be  found  in  its  intent, 
and  its  spirit,  and  its  foundation  idea.  I  put  the  question  which  has 
been  put  before  in  this  debate  :  Can  three  fourths  of  the  States  constitu- 
tionally change  this  government,  and  make  it  an  autocracy  ?     It  is  not 

prohibited  by  the  letter  of  the  Constitution It  does  not  come 

within  the  two  classes  of  limitations  and  conditions  asserted  by  my 
colleague.  Why  is  it  that  this  change  cannot  be  made  ?  I  will  tell  you 
why.  It  is  because  republicanism  lies  at  the  very  foundation  of  our 
system  of  government,  and  to  overthrow  that  idea  is  not  to  amend,  but 
to  subvert  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States ;  and  I  say  that  if  three 
fourths  of  the  States  should  undertake  to  pass  an  amendment  of  that 
kind,  and  Rhode  Island  alone  dissented,  she  would  have  the  right  to 
resist  by  force.  It  would  be  her  duty  to  resist  by  force  ;  and  her  cause 
would  be  sacred  in  the  eyes  of  just  men,  and  sanctified  in  the  eyes  of  a 
just  God.''  2 

Jefferson  Davis  and  his  fellow-conspirators  will  ask  for  no  bet- 
ter defence  of  their  rebellion.  South  Carolina  will  ask  no  more 
than  to  be  placed  in  the  same  category  with  Rhode  Island  —  in 
the  gentleman's  argument.  South  Carolina  being  her  own  judge, 
her  cause  is  "  sacred  in  the  eyes  of  just  men,  and  sanctified  in 
the  eyes  of  a  just  God."     He  goes  behind  the  letter  of  the  Con- 

1  Mr.  Ashley.  ^  Congressional  Globe,  Jan.  ii,  1865,  pp.  221,  222. 


stitution,  and  finds  a  refuge  for  slavery  in  its  intent ;  and  with 
that  intent  he  declares  that  we  have  no  right  to  deal  in  the  way 
of  amendment. 

But  he  has  gone  even  deeper  than  the  spirit  and  intent  of  the 
Constitution.  He  has  announced  a  discovery  to  which  I  am 
sure  no  other  statesman  will  lay  claim.  He  has  found  a  domain 
where  slavery  can  no  more  be  reached  by  human  law  than  the 
hfe  of  Satan  by  the  sword  of  Michael.  He  has  marked  the 
hither  boundary  of  this  newly  discovered  continent,  in  his 
response  to  the  question  of  the  gentleman  from  lowa.^  I  will 
read  it :  "I  will  not  be  drawn  now  into  a  discussion  with  the 
gentleman  as  to  the  origin  of  slavery,  nor  to  the  law  which  lies 
behind  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States,  and  behind  the 
governments  of  the  States,  by  which  these  people  are  held  in 
slavery."  Not  finding  anything  in  the  words  and  phrases  of 
the  Constitution  that  forbids  an  amendment  abolishing  slavery, 
he  goes  behind  all  human  enactments,  and  far  away,  among  the 
eternal  equities,  he  finds  a  primal  law  which  overshadows  states, 
nations,  and  constitutions,  as  space  envelops  the  universe,  and  by 
its  solemn  sanctions  one  human  being  can  hold  another  in  per- 
petual slavery.  Surely  human  ingenuity  has  never  gone  farther 
to  protect  a  malefactor  or  defend  a  crime. ^  I  shall  make  no 
argument  with  my  colleague  on  this  point;  for  in  that  high  court 
to  which  he  appeals  eternal  justice  dwells  with  freedom,  and 
slavery  has  never  entered. 

I  now  turn  to  the  main  point  of  his  argument.  He  has  given 
us  the  key  to  his  theory  of  the  Constitution  in  the  three  words 
which  the  gentleman  from  Rhode  Island  ^  commented  upon  last 
evening.  Upon  those  words  rests  the  strength  or  weakness  of 
his  position.  He  describes  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States 
as  a  **  compact  of  confederation."  If  I  understand  the  gentleman, 
he  holds  that  each  State  is  sovereign ;  that  in  their  sovereign 
capacity,  as  the  source  and  fountain  of  power,  the  States,  each 
for  itself,  ratified  the  Constitution  which  the  Convention  had 
framed.  What  powers  they  did  not  grant  they  reserved.  They 
did  not  grant  to  the  Federal  government  the  right  to  control 
the  subject  of  slavery.  That  right  still  resides  in  the  States 
severally.  Hence  no  amendment  of  the  Constitution  by  three 
fourths  of  the  States  can  legally  affect  slavery  in  the  remaining 
fourth.     Hence  no  amendment   by  the  modes  pointed  out  in 

1  Mr.  Wilson.  i  Mr.  Jenckcs. 


the  Constitution  can  reach  it.  This,  I  believe,  is  a  succinct  and 
just  statement  of  his  argument  The  whole  question  turns  upon 
the  sovereignty  of  the  States.  Are  they  sovereign  and  inde- 
pendent now  ?  Were  they  ever  so  ?  I  shall  endeavor  to  answer. 
I  appeal  to  the  facts  of  history,  and,  to  bring  them  clearly  before 
us,  I  affirm :  — 

I.  That  prior  to  the  4th  of  July,  1776,  the  Colonies  were 
neither  free  nor  independent.  Their  sovereignty  was  lodged 
in  the  Crown  of  Great  Britain.  I  believe  no  man  will  deny 
this.  It  was  admitted  in  the  first  Declaration  of  Rights,  put 
forth  by  the  Revolutionary  Congress  that,  in  1 774,  assembled 
in  Philadelphia  to  pray  for  a  redress  of  grievances.  That 
body  expressly  admitted  that  the  sovereignty  of  the  Colonies 
was  lodged  in  the  Crown  of  Great  Britain.  It  has  been  taught 
by  Jay  and  Story,  and  has  been  so  decided  by  the  Supreme 
Court  of  the  United  States.^ 

II.  On  the  4th  of  July,  1776,  the  sovereignty  was  withdrawn 
from  the  British  Crown,  by  the  whole  people  of  the  Colonies, 
and  lodged  in  the  Revolutionary  Congress.  No  Colony  de- 
clared itself  free  and  independent.  Neither  Virginia,  New  York, 
nor  Massachusetts  declared  itself  free  and  independent  of  the 
Crown  of  Great  Britain.  The  declaration  was  made  not  even 
by  all  the  Colonies  as  colonies,  but  in  the  name  and  by  the  au- 
thority of  "the  good  people  of  these  Colonies,"  as  one  people. 
In  the  following  memorable  declaration  the  sovereignty  was 
transferred  from  the  Crown  of  Great  Britain  to  \ii^  people  of  the 
Colonies :  — 

"  We,  therefore,  the  representatives  of  the  United  States  of  America, 
in  General  Congress  assembled,  appealing  to  the  Supreme  Judge  of  the 
world  for  the  rectitude  of  our  intentions,  do,  in  the  name  and  by  the 
authority  of  the  good  people  of  these  Colonies,  solemnly  publish  and 
declare  that  these  United  Colonies  are,  and  of  right  ought  to  be,  free 
and  independent  States ;  that  they  are  absolved  fix)m  all  allegiance  to 
the  British  Crown,  and  that  all  political  connection  between  them  and 
the  state  of  Great  Britain  is,  and  ought  to  be,  totally  dissolved ;  and  that 
as  free  and  independent  States  they  have  fuU  power  to  levy  war,  con- 
clude peace,  contract  alliances,  establish  commerce,  and  to  do  all  other 
acts  and  things  which  independent  states  may  of  right  do." 

In  vindication  of  this  view,  I  read  from  Justice  Story's  Com- 
mentaries on  the  Constitution :  — 

^  See  Chisholm  v.  State  of  Georgia,  2  Dallas,  419. 


"  The  Colonies  did  not  severally  act  for  themselves  and  proclaim  their 
own  independence.  It  is  true  that  some  of  the  states  had  previously 
formed  incipient  governments  for  themselves,  but  it  was  done  in  com- 
pliance with  the  recommendations  of  Congress The  declaration 

of  independence  of  all  the  Colonies  was  the  united  act  of  all.  It  was 
*  a  declaration  by  the  representatives  of  the  United  States  of  America  in 
Congress  assembled  * ;  *  by  the  delegates  appointed  by  the  good  people 
of  the  Colonies/  as  in  a  prior  declaration  of  rights  they  were  called.  It 
was  not  an  act  done  by  the  State  governments  then  organized ;  nor  by 
persons  chosen  by  them.  It  was  emphatically  the  act  of  the  whole 
people  of  the  United  Colonies,  by  the  instrumentality  of  their  representa- 
tives, chosen  for  that  among  other  purposes.  It  was  not  an  act  compe- 
tent to  the  State  governments,  or  any  of  them,  as  organized  under  their 
charters,  to  adopt  Those  charters  neither  contemplated  the  case  nor 
provided  for  it.  It  was  an  act  of  original  inherent  sovereignty  by  the 
people  themselves,  resulting  from  their  right  to  change  the  fonp  of  gov- 
ernment, and  to  institute  a  new  one  whenever  necessary  for  their  safety 
and  happiness.  So  the  Declaration  of  Independence  treats  it.  No 
State  had  presumed  of  itself  to  form  a  new  government,  or  to  provide 
for  the  exigencies  of  the  times,  without  consulting  Congress  on  the 
subject,  and  when  any  acted,  it  was  in  pursuance  of  the  recommenda- 
tion of  Congress.  It  was,  therefore,  the  achievement  of  the  whole  for 
the  benefit  of  the  whole. 

"  The  people  of  the  United  Colonies  made  the  United  Colonies  free 
and  independent  States,  and  absolved  them  from  all  allegiance  to  the 
British  Crown.  The  Declaration  of  Independence  has  accordingly 
always  been  treated  as  an  act  of  paramount  and  sovereign  authority, 
complete  and  perfect  per  se,  and  ipso  facto  working  an  entire  dissolution 
of  all  political  connection  with  and  allegiance  to  Great  Britain.  And  this, 
not  merely  as  a  practical  fact,  but  in. a  legal  and  constitutional  view  of 
the  matter  by  courts  of  justice."  ^ 

When  the  people  of  the  Colonies  became  free,  having  with- 
drawn sovereignty  from  the  Crown  of  Great  Britain,  where  did 
they  lodge  it?  Not  in  the  States;  but, so  far  as  they  delegated 
it  at  all,  they  lodged  it  in  the  Revolutionary  Congress  then  sitting 
in  Philadelphia.  My  colleague  dissents.  I  ask  his  attention 
again  to  the  language  of  this  distinguished  commentator :  — 

"  In  the  next  place,  we  have  seen  that  the  power  to  do  this  act  was 
not  derived  from  the  State  governments,  nor  was  it  done  generally  with 
their  co-operation.  The  question  then  naturally  presents  itself,  if  it  is 
to  be  considered  as  a  national  act,  in  what  manner  did  the  Colonies 

1  Book  II.  Sec.  211. 


become  a  nation,  and  in  what  manner  did  Congress  become  possessed 
of  this  national  power?  The  true  answer  must  be,  that  as  soon  as 
Congress  assumed  powers  and  passed  measures  which  were  in  their 
nature  national,  to  that  extent  the  people  from  whose  acquiescence  and 
consent  they  took  effect  must  be  considered  as  agreeing  to  form  a 
nation."  * 

Mr.  Pendleton.  I  desire  to  ask  my  colleague  from  what  power  the 
delegates  who  sat  in  that  Congress  derived  their  authority  to  make  the 
Declaration ;  whether  they  did  not  derive  it  from  the  Colonies,  or  the 
States,  if  the  gentleman  prefers  that  word,  and  whether  each  delegate 
did  not  speak  in  the  Congress  for  the  State  government  which  author- 
ized him  to  speak  there  ? 

I  say,  in  answer  to  the  point  the  gentleman  makes,  as  I  have 
already  said,  and  in  the  language  of  this  distinguished  com- 
mentator, that  the  moment  the  Revolutionary  Congress  assumed 
national  prerogatives,  and  the  people  by  their  silence  consented, 
that  moment  the  people  of  the  Colonies  were  constituted  a  na- 
tion, and  that  Revolutionary  Congress  became  the  authorized 
government  of  the  nation.  But  the  Declaration  was  made 
"by  the  authority  of  the  good  people,"  and  hence  it  was  their 

Mr.  Pendleton.  Will  the  gentleman  permit  me  to  ask  him  whether 
from  that  moment  they  became  the  representatives  of  the  nation,  or 
whether  they  still  retained  their  position  as  representatives  of  the 
States  ? 

They  were  both.  They  were  still  representatives  of  the 
States;  but  the  new  function  of  national  representatives  was 
added.  They  then  took  upon  them  that  which  now  belongs  to 
the  gentleman,  the  twofold  quality  of  State  citizenship  and 
national  citizenship.  The  gentleman  is  twice  a  citizen,  subject 
to  two  jurisdictions ;  and  so  were  they. 

I  shall  still  further  fortify  my  position  by  reading  again  from 
Justice  Story :  — 

"  From  the  moment  of  the  Declaration  of  Independence,  if  not  for 
most  purposes  at  an  antecedent  period,  the  United  Colonies  must  be 
considered  as  being  a  nation  de  facto,  having  a  general  government 
over  it,  created  and  acting  by  the  general  consent  of  the  people  of  all 
the  Colonies.  The  powers  of  that  government  were  not,  and  indeed 
could  not,  be  well  defined.    But  still  its  exclusive  sovereignty  in  many 

^  Book  II.  Sec.  213. 


cases  was  firmly  established,  and  its  controlling  power  over  the  States 
was  in  most,  if  not  in  all  national  measures,  universally  admitted."  ^ 

III.  On  the  1st  of  March,  1781,  the  sovereignty  of  the  na- 
tion was  lodged,  by  the  people,  in  the  Articles  of  Confedera- 
tion. The  government  thus  formed,  was  a  confederacy.  Its 
Constitution  might  properly  be  styled  a  **  Compact  of  Confed- 
eration," though  by  its  terms  it  established  a  "  perpetual  union/* 
and  left  small  ground  for  the  doctrine  of  secession. 

IV.  On  the  21st  of  June,  1788,^  our  national  sovereignty 
was  lodged,  by  the  people,  in  the  Constitution  of  the  United 
States,  where  it  still  resides,  and  for  its  preservation  our  armies 
are  to-day  in  the  field.  In  all  these  stages  of  development, 
from  colonial  dependence  to  full-orbed  nationality,  the  people, 
not  the  States,  have  been  omnipotent.  They  have  abolished, 
established,  altered,  and  amended,  as  suited  their  sovereign 
pleasure.  For  the  greater  security  of  liberty,  they  chose  to 
distribute  the  functions  of  government.  They  left  to  each  State 
the  regulation  of  its  local  and  municipal  affairs,  and  endowed 
the  Federal  republic  with  the  high  functions  of  national  sover- 
eignty. They  made  the  Constitution.  That  great  charter  tells 
its  own  story  best  in  the  preamble:  — 

"  We,  the  people  of  the  United  States,  in  order  to  form  a  more  perfect 
union,  establish  justice,  insure  domestic  tranquillity,  provide  for  the 
common  defence,  promote  the  general  welfare,  and  secure  the  blessings 
of  liberty  to  ourselves  and  our  posterity,  do  ordain  and  establish  this 
Constitution  for  the  United  States  of  America." 

Not  '*We,  the  sovereign  States,"  do  enter  into  a  league  or  form 
a  "  compact  of  confederation.*' 

If  the  gentleman  looks,  then,  for  a  kind  of  political  '*  apos- 
tolic succession  '*  of  American  sovereignty,  he  will  find  that 
neither  Colonies  nor  States  were  in  the  royal  line ;  but  this  is 
the  genealogy :  first,  the  Crown  and  Parliament  of  Great  Brit- 
ain ;  second,  the  Revolutionary  Congress ;  third,  the  Articles  of 
Confederation ;  fourth,  and  now,  the  Constitution  of  the  United 
States ;  and  all  this  by  the  authority  of  the  people.  Now,  if  no 
one  of  the  Colonics  was  sovereign  and  independent,  when  and 
how  did  any  of  the  States  become  so?  The  gentleman  must 
show  us  by  what  act  it  was  done,  and  where  the  deed  was  re- 

^  Story  on  the  Constitution,  Book  II.  Sec.  215. 

'  The  date  of  the  ratification  of  the  Constitution  by  the  ninth  State,  —  New 
VOL  L  6 


corded.  I  think  I  have  shown  that  his  position  has  no  foundation 
in  history,  and  the  argument  based  upon  it  falls  to  the  ground. 

In  framing  and  establishing  the  Constitution,  what  restrictions 
were  laid  upon  the  people?  Absolutely  no  human  power  be- 
yond themselves.  No  barriers  confined  them  but  the  laws  of 
nature,  the  laws  of  God,  their  love  of  justice,  and  their  aspira- 
tions for  liberty.  Over  that  limitless  expanse  they  ranged  at 
will,  and  out  of  such  materials  as  their  wisdom  selected  they 
built  the  stately  fabric  of  our  government.  That  Constitution, 
with  its  Amendments,  is  the  latest  and  the  greatest  utterance 
of  American  sovereignty.  The  hour  is  now  at  hand  when  that 
majestic  sovereign,  for  the  benignant  purpose  of  securing  still 
further  the  **  blessings  of  liberty,"  is  about  to  put  forth  another 
oracle,  —  is  about  to  declare  that  universal  freedom  shall  be  the 
supreme  law  of  the  land.  Show  me  the  power  that  is  author- 
ized to  forbid  it. 

The  lapse  of  eighty  years  has  not  abated  one  jot  or  tittle  from 
the  original  sovereignty  of  the  American  people.  They  made 
the  Constitution  what  it  is.  They  could  have  made  it  otherwise 
then ;  they  can  make  it  otherwise  now. 

But  my  colleague  ^  has  planted  himself  on  the  intent  of  the 
Constitution.  On  that  point  I  ask  him  by  what  means  the 
will  of  this  nation  reaches  the  citizen,  with  its  obligations? 
Only  as  that  will  is  revealed  in  the  logical  and  grammatical 
meaning  of  the  words  and  phrases  of  the  written  Consti- 
tution. Beyond  this,  there  is,  there  can  be,  no  legal  force  or 
potency.  If  the  amending  power  granted  in  the  Constitution 
be  in  any  way  abridged  or  restricted,  such  restriction  must  be 
found  in  the  just  meaning  of  the  instrument  itself  Any  other 
doctrine  would  overthrow  the  whole  fabric  of  jurisprudence. 
What  are  the  limitations  of  the  amending  power?  Plainly  and 
only  these :  "  That  no  amendment  which  may  be  made  prior  to 
the  year  1808  shall  in  any  manner  affect  the  first  and  fourth 
clauses  in  the  ninth  section  of  the  first  Article;  and  that  no 
State,  without  its  consent,  shall  be  deprived  of  its  equal  suffrage 
in  the  Senate."  ^  The  first  restriction,  being  bounded  by  the 
year  1808,  is  of  course  functtis  officio,  and  no  longer  operative; 
the  last  is  still  binding.  The  gentleman  does  not  claim  that  any 
other  sentence  is  restrictive ;  but  he  would  have  us  believe  there 
is  something  not  written  down,  a  tertium  quid,  a  kind  of  exha- 

*  Mr.  Pendleton.  a  Constitution,  Art.  V. 


lation  rising  out  of  the  depths  of  the  Constitution,  that  has  the 
power  of  itself  to  stay  the  hand  of  the  people  of  this  great 
republic  in  their  attempt  to  put  away  an  evil  that  is  deleterious 
to  the  nation's  life.  He  would  lead  us  in  pursuit  of  these 
intangible  shadows,  would  place  us  in  the  dominion  of  vague, 
invisible  powers,  that  exhale,  like  odors,  from  the  Constitution, 
but  are  more  potent  than  the  Constitution  itself.  Such  an  ignis 
fatuus  I  am  not  disposed  to  follow,  especially  when  it  leads  to 
a  hopeful  future  for  human  slavery.  • 

I  cannot  agree  with  my  colleague,  and  the  distinguished 
gentleman  from  Massachusetts,^  who  unite  in  declaring  that  no 
amendment  to  the  Constitution  can  be  made  which  would  be  in 
conflict  with  its  objects  as  declared  in  the  preamble.  What  spe- 
cial immunity  was  granted  to  that  first  paragraph?  Could  not 
our  forefathers  have  adopted  a  different  preamble  in  the  begin- 
ning? Could  they  not  have  employed  other  words,  and  declared 
other  objects,  as  the  basis  of  their  Constitution?  If  they  could 
have  made  a  different  preamble,  declaring  other  and  different 
objects,  so  can  we  now  declare  other  objects  in  our  amendments. 
The  preamble  is  itself  amendable,  just  as  is  every  clause  of  the 
Constitution,  excepting  only  the  ones  already  referred  to.  But 
this  point  is  not  necessary  in  the  case  we  are  now  considering. 
We  need  no  change  of  the  preamble  to  enable  us  to  abolish 
slavery.  It  is  only  by  the  final  overthrow  of  slavery  that  the 
objects  of  the  preamble  can  be  fully  realized.  By  that  means 
alone  can  we  "establish  justice,  insure  domestic  tranquillity,  and 
secure  the  blessings  of  liberty  to  ourselves  and  our  posterity." 

The  gentleman  2  puts  another  case  which  I  wish  to  notice.  He 
says  that  nine  of  the  thirteen  original  Colonies  adopted  the  Con- 
stitution, and  by  its  very  terms  it  was  binding  only  on  the  nine. 
So  if  three  fourths  of  the  States  should  pass  this  amendment  it 
would  not  bind  the  other  fourth.  In  commenting  upon  this 
clause,  Judge  Tucker,  of  Virginia,  in  his  appendix  to  Blackstone, 
says  that  if  the  four  Colonies  had  not  adopted  the  Constitution 
they  would  have  been  a  foreign  people.  The  writers  of  the 
Federalist  hold  a  different  doctrine,  and  fall  back  upon  the  origi- 
nal right  of  the  nation  to  preserve  itself,  and  say  that  the  nine 
States  would  have  had  the  right  to  compel  the  other  four  to 
come  in.  But  the  question  is  unimportant,  from  the  fact  that 
they  did  come  in  and  adopt  the  Constitution.     The  contract 

1  Mr.  Boutwell.  *  Mr.  Pendleton. 


once  ratified,  and  obligations  once  taken,  they  became  an  inte- 
gral  part  of  an  indivisible  nation,  as  indivisible  as  a  state.  The 
argument  is  irrelevant;  for  the  mode  of  adopting  the  Constitu- 
tion is  one  thing,  the  mode  pointed  out  in  the  Constitution  for 
adopting  amendments  to  it  is  quite,  another.  The  two  have  no 
necessary  relation  to  each  other.  I  therefore  agree  with  my 
colleague  from  the  Columbus  district,^  that,  except  in  the  two 
cases  of  limitation,  two  thirds  of  Congress  and  three  fourths  of 
the  States  can  do  anything  in  the  way  of  amendment,  being 
bounded  only  by  their  sense  of  duty  to  God  and  the  country. 
The  field  is  then  fully  open  before  us. 

On  the  justice  of  the  amendment  itself  no  arguments  are 
necessary.  The  reasons  crowd  in  on  every  side.  To  enumer- 
ate them  would  be  a  work  of  superfluity.  To  me  it  is  a  matter 
of  great  surprise  that  gentlemen  on  the  other  side  should  wish 
to  detey  the  death  of  slavery.  I  can  only  account  for  it  on  the 
ground  of  long-continued  familiarity  and  friendship.  I  should 
be  glad  to  hear  them  say  of  slavery,  their  beloved,  as  did  the 
jealous  Moor, — 

"  Yet  she  must  die,  else  she  ni  betray  more  men." 

Has  she  not  betrayed  and  slain  men  enough?  Are  they  not 
strewn  over  a  thousand  battle-fields?  Is  not  this  Moloch  al- 
ready gorged  with  the  bloody  feast?  Its  best  friends  know  that 
its  final  hour  is  fast  approaching.  The  avenging  gods  are  on 
its  track.  Their  feet  are  not  now,  as  of  old,  shod  with  wool,  nor 
slow  and  stately  stepping,  but  winged  like  Mercury's  to  bear  the 
swift  message  of  vengeance.  No  human  power  can  avert  the 
final  catastrophe. 

I  did  not  intend,  Mr.  Speaker,  ever  again  to  address  the 
House  on  the  subject  of  slavery.  I  had  hoped  we  might,  with- 
out a  struggle,  at  once  and  forever  remove  it  from  the  theatre 
of  American  politics,  and  turn  our  thoughts  to  those  other  and 
larger  fields  now  opening  before  us.  But  when  I  saw  the  bold 
and  determined  efforts  put  forth  in  this  House  yesterday  for  its 
preservation,  I  could  not  resist  my  inclination  to  strike  one  blow, 
in  the  hope  of  hastening  its  doom. 

»  Mr.  Cox. 



July  4,  1865. 

July  4,  i860,  Mr.  Garfield  delivered  an  oration  at  Ravenna,  Ohio, 
discussing  such  topics  as  generally  drew  the  attention  of  cultivated  men 
on  such  occasions  before  the  war.  Again,  July  4,  1865,  ^^  delivered  a 
second  oration  at  the  same  place.  He  began  the  second  oration  with 
calling  attention  to  the  changes  that  had  been  wrought  since  the  first 
one  was  delivered.  He  traced  the  progress  of  the  sentiment  of  liberty 
from  the  opening  of  the  war  to  the  Emancipation  Proclamation,  and  then 
to  the  coming  of  peace.    The  results  of  the  war,  he  said,  were  these  :  — 

1.  A  clear  discernment  upon  the  part  of  the  Northern  people  of  the 
wickedness  of  slavery. 

2.  A  stronger  nationality.  Out  of  the  ruins  of  slavery  and  treason  had 
grown  up  a  stronger  and  grander  nationality  than  we  had  ever  known 
before.  An  old  American  statesman  said  that  the  stability  of  the  govern- 
ment would  depend  upon  its  power  directly  to  enforce  its  laws.  The 
power  of  our  government  had  been  amply  demonstrated  by  the  gen- 
erous response  to  its  calls  for  men  and  money  for  the  war.  We 
understand  now  that  we  do  not  owe  allegiance  to  Washington  by  way 
of  Columbus,  but  in  an  air  line, 

3.  The  government  had  been  proved  stronger  than  any  of  its  depend- 
encies. Cotton  was  declared  King,  but  Cotton  did  not  save  the  re- 
bellion. The  Republic  was  greater  than  any  product,  than  any  interest, 
than  any  State  or  man. 

4.  The  character  of  the  people  had  grown.  "  We  have  more  faith 
in  the  American  people  than  before  the  war.  We  have  learned  to  know 
them  and  respect  them.  The  boys  who  went  from  us  come  back  to  us 
solid  men.  They  have  been  engaged  in  a  righteous  work.  No  man 
can  be  inspired  with  a  great  and  noble  purpose  without  being  better  for 
it  The  destiny  of  the  nation  is  safer  and  surer  than  ever  before. 
We  have  learned  how  to  appreciate  its  beneficence  and  its  virtue,  and 



we  shall  never  be  likely  to  forget  those  who  have  come  back  to  us 
from  its  battle-fields." 

Before  this  point  was  reached,  Mr.  Garfield  had  divided  the  national 
drama  into  two  acts,  the  military  act  and  the  civil  or  the  restorative  act. 
Now  he  addressed  himself  to  the  second  of  these  acts,  or  more  narrowly 
the  suffrage  question.  This  oration  was  not  fully  reported,  but  the 
following  portion,  relating  to  suffrage,  was  prepared  in  manuscript  by  the 
author,  and  was  printed  at  the  time  from  his  notes. 

FELLOW-CITIZENS,  — We  may  now  say  that  the  past, 
with  all  its  wealth  of  glorious  associations,  is  secure. 
The  air  is  filled  with  brightness;  the  horizon  is  aglow  with 
hope.  The  future  is  full  of  magnificent  possibilities.  But  God 
has  committed  to  us  a  trust  which  we  must  not,  we  dare  not 
overlook.  By  the  dispensation  of  his  Providence,  the  chains 
have  been  stricken  from  four  millions  of  the  inhabitants  of  this 
Republic,  and  he  has  shown  us  the  truth  of  that  early  utterance 
of  Abraham  Lincoln's,  —  **This  is  a  world  of  compensations; 
and  he  who  would  be  no  slave  must  have  no  slave.  Those  who 
deny  freedom  to  others  deserve  it  not  for  themselves,  and  under 
a  just  God  cannot  long  retain  it." 

In  the  great  crisis  of  the  war,  God  brought  us  face  to  face 
with  the  mighty  truth,  that  we  must  lose  our  own  freedom  or 
grant  it  to  the  slave.  In  the  extremity  of  our  distress,  we  called 
upon  the  black  man  to  help  us  save  the  Republic ;  and,  amid 
the  very  thunders  of  battle,  we  made  a  covenant  with  him, 
sealed  both  with  his  blood  and  with  ours,  and  witnessed  by 
Jehovah,  that,  when  the  nation  was  redeemed,  he  should  be 
free,  and  share  with  us  its  glories  and  its  blessings.  The  Omnis- 
cient Witness  will  appear  in  judgment  against  us  if  we  do  not 
fulfil  that  covenant.  Have  we  done  it?  Have  we  given  freedom 
to  the  black  man?  What  is  freedom?  Is  it  mere  negation? 
Is  it  the  bare  privilege  of  not  being  chained,  —  of  not  being 
bought  and  sold,  branded  and  scourged?  If  this  is  all,  then 
freedom  is  a  bitter  mockery,  a  cruel  delusion,  and  it  may  well 
be  questioned  whether  slavery  were  not  better.  But  liberty  is 
no  negation.  It  is  a  substantial,  tangible  reality.  It  is  the 
realization  of  those  imperishable  truths  of  the  Declaration, 
**  that  all  men  are  created  equal " ;   that  the  sanction  of  all  just 


government  is  "  the  consent  of  the  governed."  Can  these  be 
realized  until  each  man  has  a  right  to  be  heard  on  all  matters 
relating  to  himself?  The  plain  truth  is,  that  each  man  knows 
his  own  interest  best  It  has  been  said,  "  If  he  is  compelled  to 
pay,  if  he  may  be  compelled  to  fight,  if  he  be  required  implicitly 
to  obey,  he  should  be  legally  entitled  to  be  told  what  for ;  to 
have  his  consent  asked,  and  his  opinion  counted  at  what  it  is 
worth.  There  ought  to  be  no  pariahs  in  a  full-grown  and  civil- 
ized nation,  no  persons  disqualified  except  through  their  own 
default."  I  would  not  insult  your  intelligence  by  discussing  so 
plain  a  truth,  had  not  the  passion  and  prejudice  of  this  genera- 
tion called  in  question  the  very  axioms  of  the  Declaration. 

But  it  will  be  asked,  Is  it  safe  to  admit  to  the  elective  fran- 
chise the  great  mass  of  ignorant  and  degraded  blacks,  so  lately 
slaves?      Here  indeed  is  the  great  practical  question,  to  the 
solution  of  which  should  be  brought  all  the  wisdom  and  en- 
lightenment of  our  people.      I  am  fully  persuaded  that  some 
degree  of  intelligence  and  culture  should  be  required  as  a  quali- 
fication for  the  right  of  suffrage.     I  have  no  doubt  that  it  would 
be  better  if  no  man  were  allowed  to  vote  who  cannot  read  his 
ballot  or  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States,  and  write  his 
name  or  copy  in  a  legible  hand  a  sentence  from  the  Declaration 
of  Independence.     Make  any  such  wise  restriction  of  suffrage, 
but  let  it  apply  to  all  alike.     Let  us  not  commit  ourselves  to 
the  absurd  and  senseless  dogma  that  the  color  of  the  skin  shall 
be  the  basis  of  suffrage,  the  talisman  of  liberty.     I  admit  that 
it  is  perilous  to  confer  the  franchise  upon  the  ignorant  and  de- 
graded; but  if  an  educational  test  cannot  be  established,  let 
suffrage  be  extended  to  all  men  of  proper  age,  regardless  of 
color.     It  may  well  be  questioned  whether  the  negro  does  not 
understand  the  nature  of  our  institutions  better  than  the  equally 
ignorant  foreigner.'  He  was  intelligent  enough  to  understand 
from  the  beginning  of  the  war  that  the  destiny  of  his  race  was 
involved  in  it.     He  was  intelligent  enough  to  be  true  to  that 
Union  which  his  educated  and  traitorous  master  was  endeavor- 
ing to  destroy.     He  came  to  us  in  the  hour  of  our  sorest  need, 
and  by  his  aid,  under  God,  the  Republic  was  saved.     Shall  we 
now  be  guilty  of  the  unutterable  meanness,  not  only  of  thrust- 
ing him  beyond  the  pale  of  its  blessings,  but  of  committing  his 
destiny  to  the  tender  mercies  of  those  pardoned   rebels  who 
have  been  so  reluctantly  compelled  to  take  their  feet  from  his 


neck  and  their  hands  from  his  throat?  But  some  one  says 
it  is  dangerous  at  this  time  to  make  new  experiments.  I  an- 
swer, it  is  always  safe  to  do  justice.  However,  to  grant  suffrage 
to  the  black  man  in  this  country  is  not  innovation,  but  restora- 
tion. It  is  a  return  to  the  ancient  principles  and  practices  of 
the  fathers.  Let  me  refer  you  to  a  few  facts  in  our  history 
which  have  been  but  little  studied  by' the  people  and  politicians 
of  this  generation. 

1.  During  the  war  of  the  Revolution,  and  in  1788,  the  date  of 
the  adoption  of  our  national  Constitution,  there  was  but  one 
State  among  the  thirteen  whose  constitution  refused  the  right  of 
suffrage  to  the  negro.  That  State  was  South  Carolina.  Some, 
it  is  true,  established  a  property  qualification ;  all  made  freedom 
a  prerequisite;  but  none  save  South  Carolina  made  color  a 
condition  of  suffrage. 

2.  The  Federal  Constitution  makes  no  such  distinction,  nor 
did  the  Articles  of  Confederation.  In  the  Congress  of  the  Con- 
federation, on  the  25th  of  June,  1778,  the  fourth  article  was 
under  discussion.  It  provided  that  **  the  free  inhabitants  of 
each  of  these  States  —  paupers,  vagabonds,  and  fugitives  from 
justice  excepted  —  shall  be  entitled  to  all  privileges  and  im- 
munities of  free  citizens  in  the  several  States."  The  delegates 
from  South  Carolina  moved  to  insert  between  the  words  '*  free 
inhabitants"  the  word  "white,"  thus  denying  the  privileges  and 
immunities  of  citizenship  to  the  colored  man.  According  to 
the  rules  of  the  convention,  each  State  had  but  one  vote. 
Eleven  States  voted  on  the  question.  One  was  divided ;  two 
voted  aye ;  and  eight  voted  no.^  It  was  thus  early,  and  almost 
unanimously,  decided  ^zX,  freedom,  not  color,  should  be  the  test 
of  citizenship. 

3.  No  Federal  legislation  prior  to  1 8 12  placed  any  restriction 
on  the  right  of  suffrage  in  consequence  of  the  color  of  the  citi- 
zen. From  1789  to  1812  Congress  passed  ten  separate  laws 
establishing  new  Territories.  In  all  these,  freedom,  and  not 
color,  was  the  basis  of  suffrage. 

4.  After  nearly  a  quarter  of  a  century  of  prosperity  under  the 
Constitution,  the  spirit  of  slavery  so  far  triumphed  over  the  early 
principles  and  practices  of  the  government  that,  in  1812,  South 
Carolina  and  her  followers  in  Congress  succeeded  in  inserting 
the  word  "  white  "  in  the  suffrage  clause  of  the  act  establishing 

1  Elliot's  Debates,  Vol.  I.  p.  90. 


a  territorial  government  for  Missouri.  One  by  one  the  Slave 
States,  and  many  of  the  free  States,  gave  way  before  the  crusade 
of  slavery  against  negro  citizenship.  In  181 7,  Connecticut 
caught  the  infection,  and  in  her  constitution  she  excluded  the 
negro  from  the  ballot-box.  In  every  other  New  England  State 
his  ancient  right  of  suffrage  has  remained  and  still  remains  un- 
disturbed. Free  negroes  voted  in  Maryland  till  1833  ;  in  North 
Carolina,  till  1835  ;  in  Pennsylvania,  till  1838.  It  was  the  boast 
of  Cave  Johnson  of  Tennessee  that  he  owed  his  election  to  Con- 
gress in  1828  to  the  free  negroes  who  worked  in  his  mills.  They 
were  denied  the  suffrage  in  1834,  under  the  new  constitution  of 
Tennessee,  by  a  vote  of  thirty-three  to  twenty-three.  As  new 
States  were  formed,  their  constitutions  for  the  most  part  ex- 
cluded the  negro  from  citizenship.  Then  followed  the  shameful 
catalogue  of  black  laws  —  expatriation  and  ostracism  in  every 
form  —  which  have  so  deeply  disgraced  the  record  of  legisla- 
tion in  many  of  the  States. 

I  afRrm,  therefore,  that  our  present  position  is  one  of  apos- 
tasy ;  and  to  give  the  ballot  to  the  negro  will  be  no  innovation, 
but  a  return  to  the  old  paths,  —  a  restoration  of  that  spirit  of 
liberty  to  which  the  sufferings  and  sacrifices  of  the  Revolution 
gave  birth. 

But  if  we  had  no  respect  for  the  early  practices  and  traditions 
of  our  fathers,  we  should  still  be  compelled  to  meet  the  practical 
question  which  will  very  soon  be  forced  upon  us  for  solution. 
The  necessity  of  putting  down  the  rebellion  by  force  of  arms 
was  no  more  imperative  than  is  that  of  restoring  law,  order,  and 
liberty  in  the  States  that  rebelled.  No  duty  can  be  more  sacred 
than  that  of  maintaining  and  perpetuating  the  freedom  which 
the  Proclamation  of  Emancipation  gave  to  the  loyal  black  men  of 
the  South.  If  they  are  to  be  disfranchised,  if  they  are  to  have 
no  voice  in  determining  the  conditions  under  which  they  are  to 
live  and  labor,  what  hope  have  they  for  the  future?  It  will  rest 
with  their  late  masters,  whose  treason  they  aided  to  thwart,  to 
determine  whether  negroes  shall  be  permitted  to  hold  property, 
to  enjoy  the  benefits  of  education,  to  enforce  contracts,  to  have 
access  to  the  courts  of  justice,  —  in  short,  to  enjoy  any  of  those 
rights  which  give  vitality  and  value  to  freedom.  Who  can  fail 
to  foresee  the  ruin  and  misery  that  await  this  race,  to  whom  the 
vision  of  freedom  has  been  presented  only  to  be  withdrawn, 
leaving  them  without  even  the  aid  which  the  master's  selfish 


commercial  interest  in  their  life  and  service  formerly  afforded 
them?  Will  these  negroes,  remembering  the  battle-fields  on 
which  two  hundred  thousand  of  their  number  bravely  fought, 
and  many  thousands  heroically  died,  submit  to  oppression  as 
tamely  and  peaceably  as  in  the  days  of  slavery?  Under  such 
conditions,  there  could  be  no  peace,  no  security,  no  prosperity. 
I  am  glad  to  be  able  to  fortify  my  position  on  this  point  by  the 
great  name  and  ability  of  Theophilus  Parsons,  of  the  Harvard 
Law  School.  In  discussing  the  necessity  of  negro  suffrage  at  a 
recent  public  meeting  in  Boston,  he  says :  — 

"  Some  of  the  Southern  States  have  among  their  statutes  a  law  pro- 
hibiting the  education  of  a  colored  man  under  a  heavy  penalty.  The 
whole  world  calls  this  most  inhuman,  most  infamous.  And  shall  we  say 
to  the  whites  of  those  States,  *  We  give  you  complete  and  exclusive  power 
of  legislating  about  the  education  of  the  blacks ;  but  beware,  for  if  you 
lift  them  by  education  from  their  present  condition,  you  do  it  under  the 
penalty  of  forfeiting  and  losing  your  supremacy?  *  Will  not  slavery,  with 
nearly  all  its  evils,  and  with  none  of  its  compensation,  come  back  at  once  ? 
Not  under  its  own  detested  name ;  it  will  call  itself  apprenticeship ;  it 
will  put  on  the  disguise  of  laws  to  prevent  pauperism,  by  providing  that 
every  colored  man  who  does  not  work  in  some  prescribed  way  shall  be 
arrested,  and  placed  at  the  disposal  of  the  authorities ;  or  it  will  do  its 
work  by  means  of  laws  regulating  wages  and  labor.  However  it  be 
done,  one  thing  is  certain :  if  we  take  from  the  slaves  all  the  protection 
and  defence  they  found  in  slavery,  and  withhold  from  them  all  power  of 
self-protection  and  self-defence,  the  race  must  perish,  and  we  shall  be 
their  destroyers." 

Another  patriotic  speaker  thus  justly  sums  up  his  conclu- 
sions :  **  We  must  choose  between  two  results.  With  these 
four  millions  of  negroes,  either  you  must  have  four  millions  of 
disfranchised,  disarmed,  untaught,  landless,  thriftless,  non-pro- 
ducing, non-consuming,  degraded  men ;  or  else  you  must  have 
four  millions  of  landholding,  industrious,  arms-bearing,  and  vot- 
ing population.     Choose  between  these  two !  " 

Bear  with  me,  fellow-citizens,  while  I  urge  still  another  con- 
sideration. By  the  Constitution,  only  three  fifths  of  the  slaves 
were  counted  in  forming  the  basis  of  Congressional  representa- 
tion. The  Proclamation  of  Emancipation  adds  the  other  two 
fifths,  which  at  the  next  census  will  be  more  than  two  millions. 
If  the  negro  be  denied  the  franchise,  and  the  size  of  the  House 
of  Representatives  remain  as  now,  we  shall  have  fifteen  addi- 


tional  members  of  Congress  from  the  States  lately  in  rebellion, 
without  the  addition  of  a  single  citizen  to  their  population,  and 
we  shall  have  fifteen  less  in  the  loyal  States.  This  will  not  only 
give  six  members  of  Congress  to  South  Carolina,  four  sevenths 
of  whose  people  are  negroes,  but  it  will  place  the  power  of  the 
State,  as  well  as  the  destiny  of  412,000  black  men,  in  the  hands 
of  the  20,000  white  men  (less  than  the  number  of  voters  in  our 
own  Congressional  district)  who,  under  the  restricted  suffrage 
of  that  undemocratic  State,  exercise  the  franchise.  Such  an 
unjust  and  unequal  distribution  of  power  would  breed  perpetual 
mischief.  The  evils  of  the  rotten  borough  system  of  England 
would  be  upon  us. 

Indeed,  we  can  find  no  more  instructive  lesson  on  the  whole  ^ 
question  of  suffrage  than  the  history  of  its  development  in  the 
British  empire.     For  more  than  four  centuries,  royal  preroga- 
tive and  the  rights  of  the  people  of  England  have  waged  per- 
petual warfare.     Often  the  result  has  appeared  doubtful,  often 
the  people  have  been  driven  to  the  wall,  but  they  have  always 
renewed   the  struggle  with   unfaltering   courage.     Often   have 
they  lost  the  battle,  but  they  have  always  won  the  campaign. 
Amidst  all  their  reverses,   each   generation   has   found   them 
stronger,  each  half-century  has  brought  them  its  year  of  jubi- 
lee, and  has  added  strength  to  the  bulwark  of  law  and  breadth 
to  the  basis  of  liberty.     This  contest  has  illustrated  again  and 
again  the  saying  that  "  eternal  vigilance  is  the  price  of  liberty." 
The  growth  of  a  city,  the  decay  of  a  borough,  the  establish- 
ment of  a  new  manufacture,  the  enlargement  of  commerce,  the 
recognition  of  a  new  power,  have,  each  in  its  turn,  added  new 
and  peculiar  elements  to  the  contest.     Hallam  says :  "  It  would 
be  difficult,  probably,  to  name  any  town  of  the  least  considera- 
tion in  the  fourteenth  and  fifteenth  centuries,  which  did  not,  at 
some  time  or  other,  return  members  to  Parliament.     This  is  so 
much  the  case,  that  if,  in  running    our  eyes  along  the  map, 
we  find  any  seaport,  as  Sunderland  or  Falmouth,  or  any  in- 
land town,  as  Leeds  or  Birmingham,  which  has  never  enjoyed 
the  elective  franchise,  we  may  conclude  at  once  that    it  has 
emerged  from  obscurity  since  the  reign  of  Henry  VIII."  ^     It 
was  a  doctrine   old   as  the   common  law,   maintained  by  our 
Anglo-Saxon  ancestors  centuries  before  it  was  planted  in  the 
American  Colonies,  that  taxation  and  representation  were  insep- 

>  Constitutional  History  of  England,  Chap.  XIII. 


arable  correlatives,  the  one  a  duty  based  upon  the  other  as  a 
right  But  the  neglect  of  the  government  to  provide  a  system 
which  made  the  Parliamentary  representation  conform  to  the 
increase  of  population,  and  the  growth  and  decadence  of  cities 
and  boroughs,  had,  by  almost  imperceptible  degrees,  disfran- 
chised the  great  mass  of  the  British  people,  and  placed  the 
legislative  power  in  the  hands  of  a  few  leading  families  of  the 
realm.  Towards  the  close  of  the  last  century  the  question  of 
Parliamentary  reform  assumed  a  definite  shape,  and  since  that 
time  has  constituted  one  of  the  most  prominent  features  in  Brit- 
ish politics.  It  was  found  not  only  that  the  basis  of  representa- 
tion was  unequal  and  unjust,  but  that  the  right  of  the  elective 
franchise  was  granted  to  but  few  of  the  inhabitants,  and  was 
regulated  by  no  fixed  and  equitable  rule.  Here  I  may  quote 
from  May's  Constitutional  History :  — 

"  In  some  of  the  corporate  towns,  the  inhabitants  pajring  scot  and  lot, 
and  freemen,  were  admitted  to  vote ;  in  some,  the  freemen  only ;  and  in 
many,  none  but  the  governing  body  of  the  corporation.  At  Buckingham 
and  at  Bewdley  the  right  of  election  was  confined  to  the  bailiff  and  twelve 
burgesses ;  at  Bath,  to  the  mayor,  ten  aldermen,  and  twenty-four  com- 
mon-councilmen ;  at  Salisbury,  to  the  mayor  and  corporation,  consisting 
of  fifty-six  persons.  And  where  more  popular  rights  of  election  were 
acknowledged,  there  were  often  very  few  inhabitants  to  exercise  them. 
Gatton  enjoyed  a  liberal  franchise.  All  freeholders  and  inhabitants  pay- 
ing scot  and  lot  were  entitled  to  vote,  but  they  only  amounted  to  seven. 
At  Tavistock  all  freeholders  rejoiced  in  the  franchise,  but  there  were 
only  ten.  At  St.  Michael  all  inhabitants  paying  scot  and  lot  were  elec- 
tors, but  there  were  only  seven. 

"  In  1 793  the  Society  of  the  Friends  of  the  People  were  prepared  to 
prove  that  in  England  and  Wales  seventy  members  were  returned  by 
thirty-five  places  in  which  there  were  scarcely  any  electors  at  all ;  that 
ninety  members  were  returned  by  forty-six  places  with  less  than  fifty 
electors ;  and  thirty-seven  members  by  nineteen  places  having  not  more 
than  one  hundred  electors.  Such  places  were  returning  members,  while 
Leeds,  Birmingham,  and  Manchester  were  unrepresented;  and  the 
members  whom  they  sent  to  Parliament  were  the  nominees  of  peers  and 
other  wealthy  patrons.  No  abuse  was  more  flagrant  than  the  direct  con- 
trol of  peers  over  the  constitution  of  the  Lower  House.  The  Duke  of 
Norfolk  was  represented  by  eleven  members ;  Lord  Lonsdale  by  nine ; 
Lord  Darlington  by  seven ;  the  Duke  of  Rutland,  the  Marquis  of  Buck- 
ingham, and  Lord  Carrington,  each  by  six.  Seats  were  held  in  both 
Houses  alike  by  hereditary  right."  ^ 

1  May's  Constitutional  History  uf  England,  (Boston,  i86S,)  Vol.  I.  pp.  266,  267. 



Scotland  and  Ireland  were  virtually  disfranchised ;  Edinburgh 
and  Glasgow,  the  two  largest  cities  of  Scotland,  had  each  a 
constituency  of  only  thirty-three  members.  A  majority  of  the 
members  of  the  House  of  Commons  were  elected  by  six  thou- 
sand voters.  This  state  of  affairs  afforded  ready  opportunities 
for  the  moneyed  aristocracy  to  buy  seats  in  Parliament,  by  the 
purchase  of  a  few  voters  in  rotten  boroughs ;  and  also  enabled 
the  ministry  to  secure  a  servile  majority  in  the  Commons.  The 
corruption  resulting  from  these  conditions,  as  exhibited  in  the 
latter  half  of  the  eighteenth  century,  can  hardly  be  realized  by 
the  present  generation.  They  afford,  however,  an  illustration 
of  the  universal  truth,  that  a  government  which  does  not  draw 
its  inspiration  of  liberty,  justice,  and  morality  from  the  people 
will  soon  become  both  tyrannical  and  corrupt. 

In  these  facts  we  discover  the  cause  of  the  popular  discontent 
and  outbreaks  which  have  so  frequently  threatened  the  stability 
of  the  British  throne  and  the  peace  of  the  English  people.  As 
early  as  1770  Lord  Chatham  said,  **  By  the  end  of  this  century, 
either  the  Parliament  must  be  reformed  from  within,  or  it  will 
be  reformed  with  a  vengeance  from  without."  The  disastrous 
failure  of  Republicanism  in  France  delayed  the  fulfilment  of  his 
prophecy;  but  when,  in  1832,  the  people  were  on  the  verge  of 
revolt,  the  government  was  reluctantly  compelled  to  pass  the 
celebrated  Reform  Bill,  which  has  taken  its  place  in  English 
history  beside  Magna  Charta  and  the  Bill  of  Rights.  It  equal- 
ized the  basis  of  representation,  and  extended  the  suffrage  to 
the  middle  class;  and  though  the  property  qualification  prac- 
tically excluded  the  workingman,  a  great  step  upward  had  been 
taken,  a  concession  had  been  made  which  must  be  followed  by 
others.  The  struggle  is  again  going  on.  Its  omens  are  not 
doubtful.  The  great  storm  through  which  American  liberty 
has  just  passed  gave  a  temporary  triumph  to  the  enemies  of 
popular  right  in  England.  But  our  recent  glorious  triumph  is 
the  signal  of  disaster  to  tyranny,  and  victory  for  the  people. 
The  liberal  party  in  England  are  jubilant,  and  will  never  rest 
until  the  ballot,  that  "silent  vindicator  of  liberty,"  is  in  the  hand 
of  the  workingman,  and  the  temple  of  English  liberty  rests  on 
the  broad  foundation  of  popular  suffrage.  Let  us  learn  from 
this,  that  suffrage  and  safety y  like  liberty  and  unio?t,  are  one  and  s, 

It  is  related  in  ancient  fable  that  one  of  the  gods,  dissatisfied    A 


with  the  decrees  of  destiny,  attempted  to  steal  the  box  in  which 
were  kept  the  decrees  of  the  Fates ;  but  he  found  that  it  was 
fastened  to  the  throne  of  Jupiter  by  a  golden  chain,  and  to  re- 
move it  would  pull  down  the  pillars  of  heaven.  So  is  the 
sacred  ballot-box,  which  holds  the  decrees  of  freemen,  linked 
by  the  indissoluble  bond  of  necessity  to  the  pillars  of  the  Re- 
public ;  and  he  who  tampers  with  its  decrees,  or  plucks  it  away 
from  its  place  in  our  temple,  will  perish  amid  the  ruins  he  has 

But  in  view  of  the  lessons  of  the  years  of  contest  that  have 
crowned  the  nation  with  victory,  with  the  inspirations  of  liberty 
and  truth  brightly  lighting  the  pathway  of  the  people,  who  can 
doubt  the  equity  of  their  voice  ?  The  nations  of  the  earth  miist 
not  be  allowed  to  point  at  us  as  pitiful  examples  of  weak 
selfishness.  In  the  exigencies  of  this  hour,  our  duty  must  be 
so  done  that  the  eternal  scrolls  of  justice  will  ever  bear  record 
of  the  nobility  of  the  nation's  heart  Animated,  inspired,  gen- 
erous, fearless,  in  the  work  of  liberty  and  truth,  long  will  the 
Republic  live,  a  bulwark  of  God's  immutable  justice. 




February  i,  1866. 

The  title  that  this  speech  bears  in  the  pamphlet  edition  issued  by  its 
authof  is  "  Freedmen's  Bureau  —  Restoration  of  the  Southern  States." 

"  An  Act  to  establish  a  Bureau  for  the  Relief  of  Freedmen  and  Refu- 
gees" was  approved  on  March  3,  1865.  At  the  next  session,  Congress 
passed  a  bill  to  amend  this  act,  and  "  for  other  purposes,"  which  was 
vetoed  by  President  Johnson,  February  19,  1866.  Pending  this  bill  in 
the  House  of  Representatives,  Mr.  Garfield  made  this  speech.  As  he 
does  not  deal  directly  with  the  bill,  but  discusses  the  general  question  of 
Reconstruction,  an  analysis  of  the  pending  measure  is  not  necessary. 

Mr.  Garfield  began  with  remarking  that  the  pending  bill  was  one  of  a 
series  of  measures  which  it  was  the  duty  of  the  House  to  consider  and 
act  upon  during  the  current  session.  He  therefore  proposed  to  "  discuss 
in  connection  with  it  the  general  question  of  the  restoration  of  the  States 
lately  in  rebellion."  A  succinct  statement  of  facts  concerning  the  status 
of  the  Reconstruction  question  at  that  time  will  throw  much  light  upon 
the  speech,  as  well  as  upon  all  the  speeches  in  which  he  discusses  Re- 
construction topics. 

President  Johnson's  plan  of  reconstruction  rested  on  this  constitu- 
tional theory :  — 

1.  The  Rebel  States  did  not,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  secede.  "  All  in- 
tended acts  of  secession,"  he  said,  in  his  message  of  December  4,  1865, 
"were  from  the  beginning  null  and  void." 

2.  Individuals  had  committed  treason,  and  enough  of  them  should  be 
punished  to  "  make  treason  odious." 

3.  The  Rebel  State  governments  must  share  the  fate  of  the  Confed- 
erate government.  He  said :  "  The  State  institutions  are  prostrated, 
laid  out  on  the  ground,  and  they  must  be  taken  up  and  adapted  to  the 
progress  of  events." 

4.  To  "  take  up  "  their  institutions  and  "  adapt  them  to  the  progress 
of  events,"  State  conventions  must  be  held.    These  conventions  would 


frame  constitutions,  provide  for  holding  elections,  and  do  all  other 
things  preliminary  to  State  reorganization. 

5.  When  these  constitutions  had  been  framed  and  ratified,  and  the 
State  governments  fully  set  up,  and  Representatives  and  Senators  chosen, 
it  would  be  the  duty  of  Congress  to  admit  the  Representatives  and  Sena- 
tors, thereby  recognizing  the  States  as  in  proper  relations  to  the  Union. 
Certain  terms  and  conditions  the  President  proppsed  to  make ;  as  the 
abolition  of  slavery,  the  ratification  of  the  Thirteenth  Amendment,  and 
the  repudiation  of  the  debts  contracted  in  carrying  on  the  Rebellion. 

President  Johnson  promptly  set  about  carrying  his  theory  into  execu- 
tion. May  29,  1865,  he  issued  his  amnesty  proclamation,  removing  all 
political  disabilities  on  the  score  of  participation  in  rebellion,  save  in 
certain  excepted  cases.  Beginning  the  same  day,  he  appointed  Pro- 
visional Governors  in  the  several  Rebel  States,  who  were  to  call  consti- 
tutional conventions,  and  in  all  ways  to  co-operate  with  the  people  of 
the  States  in  creating  new  State  institutions.  This  proviso,  in  substance 
found  in  all  the  proclamations  appointing  said  Governors,  defined  the 
exercise  of  the  elective  franchise  :  — 

"  Provided f  that  in  any  election  that  may  be  hereafter  held  for  choos- 
ing delegates  to  any  State  Convention,  as  aforesaid,  no  person  shall  be 
qualified  as  an  elector,  or  shall  be  eligible  as  a  member  of  such  Conven- 
tion, unless  he  shall  have  previously  taken  the  oath  of  amnesty,  as  set 
forth  in  the  President's  proclamation  of  May  29,  a.  d.  1865,  and  is  a 
voter  qualified  as  prescribed  by  the  Constitution  and  laws  of  the  State 
of  Nortli  Carolina  in  force  immediately  before  the  20th  day  of  May, 
1 86 1,  the  date  of  the  so-called  Ordinance  of  Secession ;  and  the  said 
Convention,  when  convened,  or  the  Legislature  that  may  be  thereafter 
assembled,  will  prescribe  the  qualification  of  electors,  and  the  eligibility 
of  persons  to  hold  office  under  the  Constitution  and  laws  of  the  State, 
a  power  the  people  of  the  several  States  composing  the  Federal  Union 
have  rightfully  exercised  from  the  origin  of  the  government  to  the  pres- 
ent time."  *  * 

The  Governors  appointed  by  these  proclamations  hastened  to  perform 
their  parts.  Conventions  were  held,  constitutions  framed  and  ratified, 
and  State  officers  elected.  December  18,  1865,  the  President  informed 
Congress,  in  a  special  message,  that  the  people  of  North  Carolina,  South 
Carolina,  Georgia,  Alabama,  Mississippi,  Louisiana,  Arkansas,  and  Ten- 
nessee had  reorganized  their  State  governments,  and  were  yielding  obe- 
dience to  the  laws  of  the  United  States.  He  now  began  to  press  for 
the  admission  to  Congress  of  their  so-called  Senators  and  Representa- 
tives, and,  February  19,  1866,  he  plainly  told  Congress  that  these  States 
were  "  entitled  to  enjoy  their  constitutional  rights  as  members  of  the 

^  The  quotation  is  made  from  the  North  Carolina  proclamation  of  May  29^  1865. 


While  differing  widely  among  themselves  both  as  to  constitutional 
theories  and  practical  measures,  the  Republican  leaders  differed  still 
more  widely  from  the  President.  At  the  beginning  of  his  administration, 
there  was  a  want  of  full  confidence  in  him  on  the  part  of  the  Repub- 
lican party,  and  the  breach  widened  as  he  progressively  unfolded  his 
scheme.  After  February  19,  1866,  it  was  irreparable.  First,  these 
leaders  held  that  the  President  arrogated  quite  too  much  authority  to 
the  Executive,  and  relegated  Congress  to  quite  too  humble  a  part. 
Second,  they  objected  to  his  plan  on  its  merits;  (i.)  as  failing  properly 
to  punish  treason ;  (2.)  as  failing  to  assure  the  peace  and  protection  of 
Southern  Unionists,  especially  the  freedmen.  Holding  these  views,  the 
Republican  majority  in  Congress  had,  by  a  concurrent  resolution  of  De- 
cember 13,  1865,  created  a  joint  Committee  on  Reconstruction,  direct- 
ing said  committee  to  "  inquire  into  the  conditions  of  the  States  of  what 
formed  the  so-called  Confederate  States  of  America,  and  report  whether 
they  or  any  of  them  are  entitled  to  be  represented  in  either  house  of 
Congress,  with  leave  to  report  by  bill  or  otherwise." 

Congress  promptly  replied  to  the  President's  veto  of  the  Freedmen*s 
Bureau  Bill,  and  his  demand  of  February  19,  1866,  that  the  recon- 
structed States  were  "entitled  to  enjoy  their  constitutional  rights  as 
members  of  the  Union,"  by  adopting  a  concurrent  resolution  to  the 
eflfect  that  "no  Senator  or  Representative  shall  be  admitted  to  either 
Iwanch  of  Congress  from  any  of  said  States  until  Congress  shall  have 
declared  such  State  entitled  to  such  representation."  (House,  February 
20;  Senate,  March  2.)  The  "series  of  measures"  to  which  Mr.  Gar- 
field refers  in  his  opening  are  the  pending  bill,  the  Fourteenth  Amend- 
ment, and  the  two  bills  reported  by  the  Reconstruction  Committee  in 
April  following,  designed  to  accomplish  the  work  of  reconstruction  ;  the 
logical  basis  of  all  which  measures  is  contained  in  the  majority  report 
of  the  Reconstruction  Committee,  made  June  18,  1866.  At  the  time 
Mr.  Garfield  made  the  following  speech,  these  measures  had  not  been 
folly  reported,  nor  had  the  final  breach  with  the  President  occurred. 
This  recital  of  facts  shows  the  attitude  of  the  President  and  of  Congress 
at  the  period  to  which  this  speech  belongs. 

MR.  SPEAKER,  — The  bill  now  before  the  House  is  one 
of  a  scries  of  measures  which  it  is  the  duty  of  this  House 
to  consider  and  act  upon  during  the  present  session :  and  I  shall, 
in  the  time  allotted  to  me,  take  a  wider  range  than  the  provis- 
ions of  the  bill  itself  would  warrant,  and  discuss,  in  connection 
with  it,  the  general  question  of  the  restoration  of  the  States  lately 
VOL.  I.  7 


in  rebellion.  I  shall  try  to  examine  the  situation  of  national 
affairs  resulting  from  the  war;  to  determine,  if  possible,  what 
ought  to  be  done  to  bring  the  republic  back,  by  the  surest, 
safest,  and  shortest  path,  to  the  full  prosperity  of  liberty  and 
peace.  This  is  the  result  earnestly  desired  by  ever}'  patriotic 
citizen.  How  to  reach  it  is  the  great  problem  we  are  called 
upon  to  solve.  On  the  main  points  in  the  problem  I  believe 
there  is  far  less  difference  of  sentiment  in  this  House  than  is 
generally  supposed. 

Men  differ  far  more  in  theory  than  in  practice.  It  would  be 
easy  to  find  ten  men  who  perfectly  agree  in  recommending  a 
given  course  of  action.  It  would  be  difficult  to  find  ten  who 
would  give  the  same  reasons  for  that  recommendation.  If  the 
members  of  this  House  could  lay  aside  their  theories  and  ab- 
stract definitions,  and  deliberate  on  questions  of  practical  legis- 
lation, many  apparent  differences  would  at  once  disappear.  The 
words  and  phrases  that  we  use  exert  a  powerful  influence  on 
the  opinions  we  form  and  the  action  which  results. 

In  inquiring  into  the  legal  status  of  the  insurgent  States,  we 
are  met  at  the  threshold  by  three  distinct  theories,  each  of  which 
has  its  advocates  in  this  House :  — 

1.  That  these  States  are  now  and  have  never  ceased  to  be  in 
the  Union,  with  all  their  rights  unimpaired. 

2.  That  they  are  out  of  the  Union  in  fact  and  in  law;  that 
by  their  acts  of  secession  and  rebellion  they  are  reduced  to  the 
condition  of  Territories ;  and  that  it  rests  with  Congress  to  deter- 
mine whether  they  shall  now  or  hereafter  be  admitted  into  the 

3.  The  theory  announced  by  the  gentleman  from  New  York,^ 
in  his  speech  of  three  days  ago,  that,  whatever  may  have  been 
the  effect  of  the  war  upon  them,  we  ought  to  accept  the  pres- 
ent status  of  the  Southern  States,  and  regard  them  as  having 
resumed,  under  the  President's  guidance  and  action,  their  func- 
tions of  self-government  in  the  Union.^ 

Mr.  Speaker,  I  am  unable  fully  to  agree  with  either  of  these 
propositions,  and  I  shall  endeavor  to  point  out  what  seems  to 
me  the  error  which  has  led  to  their  adoption.  Two  terms  made 
use  of  in  the  debate  on  this  subject  appear  to  have  caused 
much  of  the  diversity  of  opinion.  I  allude  to  the  word  **  State," 
and  the  phrase  **  in  the  Union/' 

1  Mr.  Raymond.  '  Congressional  Globe,  January  29,  1866,  p.  491. 


The  word  "  State/'  as  it  has  been  used  by  gentlemen  in  this 
discussion,  has  two  meanings  as  perfectly  distinct  as  though 
different  words  had  been  used  to  express  them.  The  confusion 
arising  from  applying  the  same  word  to  two  different  and  dis- 
similar objects,  has  had  very  much  to  do  with  the  diverse  con- 
clusions which  gentlemen  have  reached.  They  have  given  us 
the  definition  of  a  *'  State  "  in  the  contemplation  of  public  or 
international  law,  and  have  at  once  applied  that  definition,  and 
the  conclusions  based  upon  it,  to  the  States  of  the  American 
Union,  and  the  effects  of  war  upon  them.  Let  us  examine  the 
two  meanings  of  the  word,  and  endeavor  to  keep  them  distinct 
in  their  application  to  the  questions  before  us. 

Phillimore,  the  great  English  publicist,  says :  — 

"  For  all  purposes  of  international  law,  a  state  (S^/xo?,  civitas^  Volk) 
may  be  defined  to  be  a  people  permanently  occupying  a  fixed  territory 
{certam  secUm)^  bound  together  by  common  laws,  habits,  and  customs 
into  one  body  politic,  exercising,  through  the  medium  of  an  organized 
government,  independent  sovereignty  and  control  over  all  persons  and 
things  within  its  boundaries,  capable  of  making  war  and  peace,  and  of 
entering  into  all  international  relations  with  the  other  communities  of  the 
globe."  ^ 

Substantially  the  same  definition  may  be  found  in  Grotius,^  in 
Burlamaqui,^  and  in  Vattel.*  The  primary  point  of  agreement 
in  all  these  authorities  is,  that  in  contemplation  of  international 
law.  a  state  is  absolutely  sovereign,  acknowledging  no  superior 
on  earth.  In  that  sense  the  United  States  is  a  state,  a  sovereign 
state,  just  as  Great  Britain,  France,  and  Russia  are  states. 

But  what  is  the  meaning  of  the  word  State  as  applied  to  Ohio 
or  Alabama?  Is  either  of  them  a  state  in  the  sense  of  inter- 
national law?  They  lack  all  the  leading  requisites  of  such  a 
state.  They  are  only  the  geographical  subdivisions  of  a  state ; 
and  though  endowed  by  the  people  of  the  United  States  with 
the  rights  of  local  self-government,  yet  in  all  their  external  rela- 
tions their  sovereignty  is  completely  destroyed,  being  merged 
in  the  supreme  Federal  government.^  Ohio  cannot  make  war ; 
cannot  conclude  peace ;  cannot  make  a  treaty  with  any  foreign 
government ;  cannot  even  make  a  compact  with  her  sister  State ; 

'  International  Law,  Part  II.  Chap.  I.  Sec.  65. 

^  Rights  of  War  and  Peace,  Book  I.  Chap.  I.  Sec.  14. 

'  Principles  of  Natural   and  Politic  Law,  Vol.  II.  Part  L  Chap.  IV.  Sec.  9. 

*  Law  of  Nations,  Book  I.  Chap.  I.  Sec.  i. 

*  See  Halleck*s  International  I^w,  Chap.  III.  Sec.  16. 


cannot  regulate  commerce;  cannot  coin  money;  and  has  no 
flag.  These  indispensable  attributes  of  sovereignty  the  State  of 
Ohio  does  not  possess,  nor  does  any  other  State  of  the  Union. 
We  call  them  States  for  want  of  a  better  name.  We  call  them 
States  because  the  original  Thirteen  had  been  so  designated  be- 
fore the  Constitution  was  formed ;  but  that  Constitution  destroyed 
all  the  sovereignty  which  those  States  were  ever  supposed  to 
possess  in  reference  to  external  affairs. 

I  submit,  Mr.  Speaker,  that  the  five  great  publicists,  Grotius, 
Puffendorf,  Bynkershoek,  Burlamaqui,  and  Vattel,  who  have  been 
so  often  quoted  in  this  debate,  and  all  of  whom  wrote  more 
than  a  quarter  of  a  century,  and  some  nearly  two  centuries, 
before  our  Constitution  was  formed,  can  hardly  be  quoted  as 
good  authorities  in  regard  to  the  nature  and  legal  relationships 
of  the  component  States  of  the  American  Union. 

Even  my  colleague  from  the  Columbus  district,^  in  his  very 
able  discussion  of  this  question,  spoke  as  though  a  State  of  this 
Union  was  the  same  as  a  state  in  the  sense  of  international  law, 
with  certain  qualities  added.  I  think  he  must  admit  that  nearly 
all  the  leading  attributes  of  such  a  state  are  wanting  to  a  State 
of  our  Union. 

Several  gentlemen  in  this  debate  have  quoted  the  well-known 
doctrine  of  international  law,  **  that  war  annuls  all  existing  com- 
pacts and  treaties  between  belligerents  '* ;  and  they  have  con- 
cluded, therefore,  that  our  war  has  broken  the  Federal  bond 
and  dissolved  the  Union.  This  would  be  true  if  the  Rebel 
States  were  states  in  the  sense  of  international  law,  —  if  our 
government  were  not  a  sovereign  nation,  but  only  a  league 
between  sovereign  states. 

I  oppose  to  this  conclusion  the  unanswerable  proposition  that 
this  is  a  nation ;  that  the  Rebel  States  are  not  sovereign  states, 
and  therefore  their  failure  to  achieve  independence  was  a  fail- 
ure to  break  the  Federal  bond,  —  to  dissolve  the  Union.  The 
word  "state"  which  they  discuss  is  no  more  applicable  to  Ohio 
than  to  Hamilton  County.  The  States  and  counties  of  this 
Union  are  equally  unknown  to  international  law. 

There  is  another  expression  to  which  I  have  referred,  and 
which  is  used  in  an  equally  ambiguous  manner.  We  have 
discussed  the  question  here  whether  these  insurgent  States  are 
in  the  Union.     "  In  the  Union. "     What  do  we  mean  by  the 

*  Mr.  Shellabarger. 


phrase?  In  one  sense,  every  inch  of  soil  that  we  own  is  "  in  the 
Union."  The  Territory  of  Utah  is  in  the  Union.  So  is  every 
Territory  of  the  West  in  the  Union ;  that  is,  under  its  authority, 
subject  to  its  right  of  eminent  domain.  On  the  other  hand, 
when  some  gentlemen  say  these  States  are  "  in  the  Union/' 
they  mean  to  include  all  their  relations,  all  their  rights  and 
privileges,  which  is  quite  another  thing.  From  this  ambiguity 
in  the  use  of  terms  have  arisen  most  of  the  differences  of  opin- 
ion on  this  subject. 

I  would  not  be  understood  as  saying  that  international  law 
has  nothing  to  do  with  the  question  before  us.  It  has  much  to 
do  with  it.  It  furnished  us  with  the  rules  of  civilized  nations  in 
the  conduct  of  war,  the  rights  of  belligerents,  the  treatment  of 
prisoners,  the  rules  of  surrender,  cartel,  and  parole.  Guided  by 
the  precepts  of  international  law,  we  are  enabled  to  understand 
the  rights  and  duties  of  neutral  powers,  and  the  legal  results  of 
successful  war  against  domestic  enemies  and  traitors.  But  when 
gentlemen  quote  the  doctrines  of  international  law  in  reference 
to  sovereign  nations,  and  apply  them  directly  to  the  political 
status  of  the  States  of  this  Union,  they  lead  us  into  error. 

In  view  of  the  peculiar  character  of  our  government,  I  ask: 
In  what  condition  has  the  war  left  the  Rebel  States?  Did  they 
accomplish  their  own  destruction  ?  Did  they  break  the  bonds 
which  bound  them  to  the  Union?  I  answer,  they  would  have 
done  both  these  things,  if  anything  short  of  successful  revolu- 
tion could  do  it.  It  was  not,  as  some  gentlemen  hold,  merely 
an  insurrection  of  individuals.  It  was  not,  as  most  civil  wars 
are,  a  war  among  the  atoms,  so  to  speak,  flaming  here  and 
there,  as  fire  breaks  out  in  a  hundred  places  in  a  city.  It  was  a 
war  of  organized  popular  masses,  or  as  the  Supreme  Court, 
borrowing  the  prophetic  words  of  De  Tocqueville,  calls  it,  *'  a 
territorial  civil  war,"  in  which  we  granted  them  belligerent  rights, 
and  claimed  for  ourselves  both  belligerent  and  sovereign  rights. 
We  could  pursue  them  with  war  as  enemies,  or  try  them  by 
criminal  law  as  citizens,  and  hang  them  as  condemned  traitors. 

I  cannot  agree  with  the  distinguished  gentleman  from  New 
York,*  when  he  holds  that  we  are  to  deal  with  the  Rebels  only 
as  individuals.  They  struck  at  the  Union  through  every  instru- 
mentality within  their  reach:  through  personal  service  in  the 
army  and  individual  contributions  of  money;  through  volun- 

*  Mr.  Ra3rmond. 


tary  associations  to  raise  men  and  money ;  through  popular  mass 
meetings  to  inflame  the  passions  and  develop  all  the  powers  of 
their  people  ;  through  township,  county,  and  city  corporations ; 
through  State  conventions,  that  framed  new  constitutions  in 
order  the  more  perfectly  to  sever  the  bonds  which  held  them 
to  the  Union ;  and,  to  make  a  more  powerful  and  effectual 
instrument  with  which  to  establish  their  rebel  sovereignty, 
through  State  legislatures,  by  laws  levying  taxes  for  the  pur- 
chase of  arms,  ammunition,  and  all  the  materiel  of  war,  by  res- 
olutions denouncing  the  pains  and  penalties  of  treason  against 
all  citizens  who  refused  to  join  their  conspiracy;  and  finally, 
through  a  coofederation  of  eleven  States,  consolidated  into  a 
central  sovereign  government  defactOy  which  became  the  most 
absolute  military  despotism  in  modern  history,  —  a  despotism 
which  inundated  with  its  deluge  of  tyranny  all  State  guaranties, 
all  municipal  privileges,  and  assumed  absolute  control  of  all  per- 
sons and  property  within  the  limits  of  its  territory.  There  was 
not  a  conceivable  calamity  which  could  have  befallen  us  as  a 
nation  that  they  did  not  attempt,  with  all  their  power  and  in 
every  available  way,  to  bring  upon  us.  Individuals  fought  us 
as  individuals;  States  as  States  fought  us;  and  if  a  State  can 
commit  treason,  each  of  the  sinful  eleven  committed  it  again 
and  again.  The  Rebels  utterly  subverted  the  governments  of 
their  States,  they  broke  every  oath  by  which  they  had  bound 
themselves  to  the  Union,  they  let  go  their  hold  upon  the 
Union,  and  attempted  to  destroy  it. 

What  was  the  tie  that  bound  those  States  to  the  Union  ?  For 
example,  what  made  Alabama  a  State  of  the  Union?  Read  the 
history  of  that  transaction.  When  she  had  formed  a  constitu- 
tion for  herself  in  obedience  to  the  law  of  Congress,  when  Con- 
gress had  approved  that  constitution  as  republican  in  form,  the 
following  act  was  passed  by  the  Congress  of  the  United  States, 
and  was  approved  by  the  President,  December  14,  18 19:  ''Re- 
solved by  the  Senate  and  House  of  Represaitatives  of  the  United 
States  of  America  in  Congress  assembled.  That  the  State  of  Ala- 
bama shall  be  one,  and  is  hereby  declared  to  be  one,  of  the 
United  States  of  America,  and  admitted  into  the  Union  on  an 
equal  footing  with  the  original  Stales  in  all  respects  whatso- 
ever." Now,  Alabama  may  violate  a  law  of  Congress,  but  she 
cannot  annul  it.  She  may  break  it,  but  she  cannot  make  it 
void,  except  by  successful  revolution. 


By  another  law  of  Congress,  approved  April  21,  1820,  it  was 
declared,  "That  all  the  laws  of  the  United  States  which  are 
not  locally  inapplicable  shall  be  extended  to  the  State  of  Ala- 
bama, and  shall  have  the  same  force  and  effect  within  the  same 
as  elsewhere  in  the  United  States."  By  this  law  Congress 
extended  our  judiciary  system  over  Alabama,  dividing  the 
State  into  judicial  districts ;  and  since  that  time,  year  by  year, 
Congress  has  been  covering  Alabama  with  Federal  legisla- 
tion as  with  a  network  of  steel.  Has  Alabama  broken  all 
these  bonds?  She  has  done  all  she  could  to  break  away  from 
the  Union,  but  she  has  not  been  able  to  destroy  or  render  in- 
valid one  law  of  the  republic.  Alabama  let  go  of  the  Union, 
but  the  Union  did  not  let  go  of  Alabama.  We  have  held  her 
through  four  years  of  war,  and  we  hold  her  still.  When  she 
tried  to  break  the  Federal  bonds,  we  called  out  millions  of  men 
in  order  that  not  one  jot  or  tittle  should  pass  from  these  laws, 
but  that  all  should  be  fulfilled. 

Let  the  stars  of  heaven  illustrate  our  constellation  of  States. 
When  God  launched  the  planets  upon  their  celestial  pathway, 
he  bound  them  all  by  the  resistless  power  of  attraction  to  the 
central  sun,  around  which  they  revolved  in  their  appointed 
orbits.  Each  may  be  swept  by  storms,  may  be  riven  by  light- 
nings, may  be  rocked  by  earthquakes,  may  be  devastated  by  all 
the  terrestrial  forces  and  overwhelmed  in  ruin,  but  far  away  in 
the  everlasting  depths  the  sovereign  sun  holds  the  turbulent 
planet  in  its  place.  This  earth  may  be  overwhelmed  until  the 
high  hills  are  covered  by  the  sea ;  it  may  tremble  with  earth- 
quakes miles  below  the  soil,  but  it  must  still  revolve  in  its  ap- 
pointed orbit.  So  Alabama  may  overwhelm  all  her  municipal 
institutions  in  ruin,  but  she  cannot  annul  the  omnipotent  de- 
crees of  the  sovereign  people  of  the  Union.  She  must  be  held 
forever  in  her  orbit  of  obedience  and  duty. 

Mr.  Stevens.  If  the  gentleman  from  Ohio  will  permit  me,  I  will  ask 
him  a  question.  Some  of  the  angels  undertook  to  dethrone  the  Al- 
mighty, but  they  could  not  do  it.  And  they  were  turned  out  of  heaven 
because  they  were  unable  to  break  its  laws.  Are  those  devilish  angels 
in  or  out  of  heaven  ? 

I  thank  the  gentleman  from  Pennsylvania  for  his  interruption. 
The  angels  that  kept  not  their  first  estate,  —  what  was  their 
fate?     It  was  the  Almighty  who   opened   the  shining  gates  of 


heaven  and  hurled  them  down  to  eternal  ruin.  They  did  not 
go  without  his  permission  and  help.  And  if  these  States  are 
out  of  the  Union,  it  must  be  because  the  sovereign  people  of 
the  republic  hurled  them  out;  because  they  pleased  to  let 
them  go.  I  am  glad  the  gentleman  interrupted  me :  he  hap- 
pily illustrates  my  position. 

I  will  not  discuss  what  we  might  do  with  Alabama,  but  simply 
what  Alabama  herself  was  able  to  do,  and  what  she  was  not  able 
to  do,  toward  breaking  up  this  Union.  Two  years  ago,  when  I 
had  the  honor  for  the  first  time  to  address  this  House,  the  same 
question  that  is  now  before  us  was  under  discussion.  I  main- 
tained then,  as  I  hold  to-day,  that  the  Rebel  States  are  not,  in 
any  legitimate  sense  of  the  words,  out  of  the  Union.  I  declared 
then,  as  I  declare  now,  that  by  their  own  act  of  treason  and 
rebellion  they  had  forfeited  all  their  rights  in  the  Union,  but 
they  had  released  themselves  from  none  of  their  obligations. 
It  rests  with  the  people  of  the  republic  to  enforce  the  perform- 
ance of  these  obligations,  and,  so  soon  as  the  national  safety 
will  permit,  restore  them  to  their  rights. 

Now,  let  us  inquire  how  the  surrender  of  the  military  power 
of  the  Rebellion  affected  the  legal  condition  of  those  States. 
When  the  Rebellion  collapsed,  and  the  last  armed  man  of  the 
Confederacy  surrendered  to  our  forces,  I  affirm  that  there  was 
not  in  one  of  those  States  a  single  government  that  we  did  or 
could  recognize.  There  was  not  in  one  of  those  States  a  single 
man,  from  governor  down  to  constable,  whom  we  could  recog- 
nize as  authorized  to  exercise  any  official  function  whatever. 
They  had  formed  governments  alien  and  hostile  to  the  Union. 
Not  only  had  their  officers  taken  no  oaths  to  support  the  Con- 
stitution of  the  United  States,  but  they  had  heaped  oath  upon 
oath  to  destroy  it. 

I  go  further.  I  hold  that  there  were  in  those  States  no  con- 
stitutions of  any  binding  force  and  effect, —  none  that  we  could 
recognize.  A  constitution,  in  this  case,  can  mean  nothing  less 
than  a  constitution  of  government.  A  constitution  must  consti- 
tute something,  or  it  is  no  constitution.  When  we  speak  of  the 
constitution  of  Alabama,  we  mean  the  constitution  of  the  gov- 
ernment of  Alabama.  When  the  Rebels  surrendered,  there 
remained  no  constitution  in  Alabama,  because  there  remained 
no  government.  Those  States  reverted  into  our  hands  by  vic- 
torious war,  with  every  municipal  right   and  every  municipal 


authority  utterly  and  completely  swept  away.     Whose  duty  was 
it  to  assume  the  control  of  them  under  such  circumstances? 

In  the  first  instance,  it  was  the  duty  of  the  President  of  the 
United  States.  Congress  was  not  then  in  session.  Military 
resistance  to  the  armies  of  the  Union  had  ceased,  and  the  laws 
of  war  covered  every  inch  of  the  conquered  territory.  I  ap- 
peal to  the  high  authority  of  international  law,  as  stated  by 
Halleck :  — 

"The  government  established  over  an  enemy's  territory  during  its 
military  occupation  may  exercise  all  the  powers  given  by  the  laws  of 
war  to  the  conqueror  over  the  conquered,  and  is  subject  to  all  the  re- 
strictions which  that  code  imposes.  It  is  of  little  consequence  whether 
such  government  be  called  a  military  or  a  civil  government ;  its  character 
is  the  same,  and  the  source  of  its  authority  the  same  :  in  either  case,  it 
is  a  government  imposed  by  the  laws  of  war,  and  so  far  as  it  concerns 
the  inhabitants  of  such  territory,  or  the  rest  of  the  world,  those  laws  alone 
determine  the  legality  or  illegality  of  its  acts.  But  the  conquering  state 
may,  of  its  own  will,  whether  expressed  in  its  constitution  or  in  its  laws, 
impose  restrictions  additional  to  those  established  by  the  usage  of  nations, 
conferring  upon  the  inhabitants  of  the  territory  so  occupied  privileges 
and  rights  to  which  they  are  not  strictly  entitied  by  the  laws  of  war ;  and, 
if  such  government  of  military  occupation  violate  these  additional  restric- 
tions so  imposed,  it  is  accountable  to  the  power  which  established  it,  but 
not  to  the  rest  of  the  world."  * 

The  same  author  applies  the  laws  of  war  to  the  United  States 
and  holds  that  the  President,  as  commander-in-chief,  may  estab- 
lish a  government  over  conquered  territory,  but  that  Congress 
may  at  any  time  put  an  end  to  such  a  government,  and  organize 
a  new  one.^ 

It  was  decided  by  the  Supreme  Court  of  the  United  States, 
in  reference  to  the  Mexican  war,  that  on  the  conquest  of  a 
country  the  President  may  establish  a  provisional  government, 
which  may  ordain  laws  and  institute  a  judicial  system,  which 
will  continue  in  force  after  the  war,  and  until  modified  by  the 
direct  legislation  of  Congress  or  by  the  territorial  government 
established  by  its  authority.^ 

From  these  authorities  and  from  the  facts  in  the  case  it  is 
evident,  — 

I.  That,  by  conquest,  the  United  States  obtained  complete 
control  of  the  Rebel  territory. 

^  International  Law,  Chap.  XXXII.  Sec  i.        a  ibid.,  Chap.  XXXIII.  Sec.  16. 
•  Lftitensdorfer  v,  Webb,  20  Howard,  176. 


2.  That  every  vestige  of  municipal  authority  in  those  States 
was,  by  secession,  rebellion,  and  the  conquest  of  the  rebellion, 
utterly  destroyed. 

3.  That  the  state  of  war  did  not  terminate  with  the  actual 
cessation  of  hostilities,  but  that  under  the  laws  of  war  it  was  the 
duty  of  the  President,  as  commander-in-chief,  to  establish  gov- 
ernments over  the  conquered  people  of  the  insurgent  States, 
which  governments,  no  matter  what  may  be  their  form,  are 
really  military  governments,  deriving  their  sole  power  from  the 

4.  That  the  governments  thus  established  are  valid  while  the 
state  of  war  continues,  and  until  Congress  acts  in  the  case. 

5.  That  it  belongs  exclusively  to  the  legislative  authority  of 
the  government  to  determine  the  political  status  of  the  insur- 
gent States,  either  by  adopting  the  governments  the  President 
has  established,  or  by  permitting  the  people  to  form  others, 
subject  to  the  approval  of  Congress. 

The  President  might  have  sent  a  major-general,  or  any  other 
military  officer,  to  govern  each  one  of  the  Rebel  States.  But  he 
chose  to  consult  the  people,  and  allow  them  to  adopt  a  form  of 
government  resembling  civil  government,  so  that  they  might 
the  more  easily  come  back  to  their  places  in  due  time.  But 
it  was  none  the  less  a  military  government  for  that  reason. 
On  any  other  ground  the  whole  course  of  the  President  would 
have  been  an  unwarrantable  usurpation. 

Now,  holding  first  that  the  President  had  full  authority  in  the 
matter,  I  ask,  how  long  does  his  authority  last?  It  is  clearly 
settled  by  the  authorities  which  I  have  quoted  that  it  lasts  until 
Congress  speaks.  So  long  as  Congress  is  silent,  the  govern- 
ments established  by  the  President  will  remain. 

It  is  now  time,  Mr.  Speaker,  that  Congress  should  make  its 
declaration  of  policy  and  principle  in  reference  to  these  govern- 
ments. Let  us  not  quarrel  with  the  past  Let  us  not  endan- 
ger the  future  because  the  President's  policy  in  the  past  has  not 
been  all  we  could  desire.  In  one  important  particular  I  wish  it 
had  been  different.  When  he  appealed  to  the  people  of  the  South 
to  co-operate  with  him  in  establishing  his  military  governments, 
I  greatly  regret  that  he  did  not  appeal  to  all  the  loyal  people. 
I  regret  that  he  did  not  recognize  the  rights  and  consult  the 
wishes  of  those  loyal  millions  who  were  made  free  and  made 
citizens  also  by  the  events  of  the  war.    But  let  that  pass.    What 


he  did  he  had  a  right  to  do;  what  remains  to  be  done  is  for 
Congress  and  the  President  in  their  legislative  capacity  to  deter- 
mine. Our  rights  in  this  direction  are  as  ample  as  the  rights  of 
conquest.  What  are  they?  I  read  from  Woolsey  the  latest 
utterance  of  public  law,  made  with  direct  reference  to  our  war: 
**  When  a  war  ends  to  the  disadvantage  of  the  insurgents,  muni- 
cipal law  may  clinch  the  nail  which  war  has  driven,  may  hang, 
after  legal  process,  instead  of  shooting,  and  confiscate  the  whole 
instead  of  plundering  a  part.  But  a  wise  and  civilized  nation 
will  exercise  only  so  much  of  this  legal  vengeance  as  the  inter- 
ests of  lasting  order  imperiously  demand."  ^ 

These  capacious  powers  are  in  our  hands.  How  shall  we 
use  them?  I  agree  with  my  friend  from  Connecticut,*  that  we 
need  not  apply  the  strictissimum  jus  to  these  conquered  people. 
We  should  do  nothing  inconsistent  with  the  spirit  and  genius 
of  our  institutions.  We  should  do  nothing  for  revenge,  but 
everything  for  security;  nothing  for  the  past,  everything  for  the 
present  and  the  future.  Indemnity  for  the  past  we  can  never 
obtain.  The  three  hundred  thousand  graves  in  which  sleep  our 
fathers  and  brothers,  murdered  by  rebellion,  will  keep  their 
sacred  trust  till  the  angel  of  the  resurrection  bids  the  dead  come 
forth.  The  tears,  the  sorrow,  the  unutterable  anguish  of  broken 
hearts,  can  never  be  atoned  for.  We  turn  from  that  sad  but 
glorious  past,  and  demand  such  securities  for  the  future  as  can 
never  be  destroyed. 

And  first,  we  must  recognize  in  all  our  action  the  stupendous 
facts  of  the  war.     In  the  very  crisis  of  our  fate  God  brought 
us  face  to  face  with  the  alarming  truth  that  we  must  lose  our 
own  freedom  or  grant  it  to  the  slave.     In  the  extremity  of  our 
distress  we  called  upon  the  black  man  to  help  us  save  the  re-' 
public,  and  amid  the  very  thunder  of  battle  we  made  a  covenant 
with  him  sealed  both  with  his  blood  and  ours,  and  witnessed  by 
Jehovah,  that  when  the  nation  was  redeemed  he  should  be  free 
and  share  with  us  the  glories  and  blessings  of  freedom.     In  the 
solemn  words  of  the  great  proclamation  of  emancipation,  we  not 
only  declared  the  slaves  forever  free,  but  we  pledged  the  faith 
of  the  nation  "  to  maintain  their  freedom," —  mark  the  words, 
^^  to  maintain  their  freedom''     The  Omniscient  Witness  will  ap- 
pear in  judgment  against  us  if  we  do  not  fulfil  that  covenant. 

*  Introduction  to  the  Study  of  International  Law,  (New  York,  1867,)  p.  231. 

*  Mr.  Deming. 


Have  we  done  it?  Have  we  given  freedom  to  the  black  man? 
What  is  freedom?  Is  it  a  mere  negation,  —  the  bare  privilege 
of  not  being  chained,  bought  and  sold,  branded  and  scourged? 
If  this  be  all,  then  freedom  is  a  bitter  mockery,  a  cruel  delusion, 
and  it  may  well  be  questioned  whether  slavery  were  not  better. 

But  liberty  is  no  negation.  It  is  a  substantive,  tangible  reality. 
It  is  the  realization  of  those  imperishable  truths  of  the  Declara- 
tion, "  that  all  men  are  created  equal,"  that  the  sanction  of  all 
just  government  is  "  the  consent  of  the  governed."  Can  these 
truths  be  realized  until  each  man  has  a  right  to  be  heard  on  all 
matters  relating  to  himself? 

Mr.  Speaker,  we  did  more  than  merely  break  off  the  chains 
of  the  slaves.  The  abolition  of  slavery  added  four  million  citi- 
zens to  the  republic.  By  the  decision  of  the  Supreme  Court, 
by  the  decision  of  the  Attorney-General,  by  the  decision  of  all 
the  departments  of  our  government,  those  men  made  free  are, 
by  the  act  of  freedom,  made  citizens.  As  another  has  said, 
they  must  be  "  four  million  disfranchised,  disarmed,  untaught, 
landless,  thriftless,  non-producing,  non-consuming,  degraded 
men,  or  four  million  landholding,  industrious,  arms-bearing, 
and  voting  population.     Choose  between  the  two !  " 

If  they  are  to  be  disfranchised,  if  they  are  to  have  no  voice  in 
determining  the  conditions  under  which  they  are  to  live  and 
labor,  what  hope  have  they  for  the  future?  It  will  rest  with  their 
late  masters,  whose  treason  they  aided  to  thwart,  to  determine 
whether  negroes  shall  be  permitted  to  hold  property,  to  enjoy 
the  benefits  of  education,  to  enforce  contracts,  to  have  access  to 
the  courts  of  justice,  —  in  short,  to  enjoy  any  of  those  rights 
which  give  vitality  and  value  to  freedom.  In  that  event,  who 
can  fail  to  foresee  the  ruin  and  misery  that  await  this  race, 
to  whom  the  vision  of  freedom  has  been  presented  only  to 
be  withdrawn,  leaving  them  without  even  the  aid  which  the 
master's  selfish  commercial  interest  in  their  life  and  service 
formerly  afforded  them?  Will  these  negroes,  remembering  the 
battle-fields  on  which  nearly  two  hundred  thousand  of  their 
number  have  so  bravely  fought,  and  many  thousands  have  he- 
roically died,  submit  to  oppression  as  tamely  and  peaceably  as 
in  the  days  of  slavery?  Under  such  conditions  there  could 
be  no  peace,  no  security,  no  prosperity.  The  spirit  of  slavery 
is  still  among  us ;  it  must  be  utterly  destroyed  before  we  shall 
be  safe. 


Gibbon  has  recorded  an  incident  which  may  serve  to  illustrate 
the  influence  of  slavery  in  this  country.  The  Christians  of 
Alexandria,  under  the  lead  of  Theophilus,  their  bishop,  resolved, 
as  a  means  of  overthrowing  Egyptian  idolatry,  to  demolish  the 
temple  of  Serapis  and  erect  on  its  ruins  a  church  in  honor  of 
the  Christian  martyrs. 

"  The  colossal  statue  of  Serapis  was  involved  in  the  ruin  of  his  tem- 
ple and  religion It  was  confidendy  affirmed  that,  if  any  impious 

hand  should  dare  to  violate  the  majesty  of  the  god,  the  heavens  and 
the  earth  would  instantly  return  to  their  original  chaos.  An  intrepid 
soldier,  animated  by  zeal,  and  armed  with  a  weighty  battle-axe,  as- 
cended the  ladder,  and  even  the  Christian  multitude  expected  with 
some  anxiety  the  event  of  the  combat.  He  aimed  a  vigorous  stroke 
against  the  cheek  of  Serapis :  the  cheek  fell  to  the  ground ;  the  thunder 
was  still  silent,  and  both  the  heavens  and  the  earth  continued  to  pre- 
serve their  accustomed  order  and  tranquillity.  The  victorious  soldier 
repeated  his  blows :  the  huge  idol  was  overthrown,  and  broken  in 
pieces ;  and  the  limbs  of  Serapis  were  ignominiously  dragged  through 
the  streets  of  Alexandria.  His  mangled  carcass  was  burnt  in  the  am- 
phitheatre amidst  the  shouts  of  the  populace ;  and  many  persons  attrib- 
uted their  conversion  to  this  discovery  of  the  impotence  of  their  tutelar 
deity."  ^ 

So  sat  slavery  in  this  republic.     The  temple  of  the  Rebellion 
was  its  sanctuary,  and  seven   million  Rebels  were  its  devoted 
worshippers.      Our  loyal  millions  resolved  to  overthrow  both 
the  temple  and  its  idol.      On  the  first  day  of  January,   1863, 
Abraham  Lincoln  struck  the  grim  god  on  the  cheek,  and  the 
faithless  and  unbelieving  among  us   expected  to  see  the  fabric 
of  our  institutions  dissolve  into  chaos  because  their  idol  had 
been  smitten.     He  struck  it  again;  Congress  and  the  States  re- 
peated the  blow,  and   its  unsightly  carcass  lies  rotting  in  our 
streets.      The  sun  shines  in  the  heavens  brighter  than  before. 
Let  us  remove  the  carcass  and  leave  not  a  vestige  of  the  mon- 
ster.   We  shall  never  have  done  that,  until  wc  declare  that  all 
men  shall  be  consulted  in  regard  to  the  disposition  of  their  lives, 
liberty,  and  property. 

Is  this  Congress  brave  enough  and  virtuous  enough  to  ap- 
ply that  principle  to  every  citizen,  whatever  be  the  color  of  his 
skin?  The  spirit  of  our  government  demands  that  there  shall 
be  no  rigid,  horizontal  strata  running  across  our  political  so- 

1  Decline  and  Fall  of  the  Roman  Empire,  Chap.  XX VIII. 


ciety,  through  which  some  classes  of  citizens  may  never  pass 
up  to  the  surface ;  but  it  shall  be  rather  like  the  ocean,  where 
every  drop  can  seek  the  surface  and  glisten  in  the  sun.  Until 
we  are  true  enough  and  brave  enough  to  declare  that  in  this 
country  the  humblest,  the  lowest,  the  meanest  of  our  citizens 
shall  not  be  prevented  from  passing  to  the  highest  place  he  is 
worthy  to  attain,  we  shall  never  realize  freedom  in  all  its  glorious 
meanings.  I  do  not  expect  we  can  realize  this  result  imme- 
diately ;  it  may  be  impossible  to  realize  it  very  soon ;  but  let 
us  keep  our  eyes  fixed  in  that  direction,  and  march  toward  that 

There  is  a  second  great  fact  which  we  must  recognize,  namely, 
that  the  seven  million  white  men  lately  in  rebellion  now  stand 
waiting  to  have  their  case  adjudged,  —  to  have  it  determined 
what  their  status  shall  be  in  this  government.  Shall  they  be 
held  under  military  power?  shall  they  be  governed  by  depu- 
ties appointed  by  the  Executive?  or  shall  they  again  resume 
the  functions  of  self-government  in  the  Union?  —  are  some  of 
the  questions  growing  out  of  this  second  fact. 

I  will  proceed  to  state,  in  a  few  words,  what  seems  to  me 
necessary  for  the  practical  settlement  of  this  question.  In  view 
of  the  events  of  the  war,  and  the  peculiar  and  novel  situation 
of  the  parties  and  interests  concerned ;  in  view  of  the  powers 
conferred  upon  us  by  the  Constitution  and  the  laws  of  war; 
and  in  view  of  the  solemn  obligations  which  rest  upon  us  to 
maintain  the  freedom,  security,  and  peace  of  all  the  citizens  of 
the  republic, —  I  inquire,  What  practical  measures  can  we  adopt 
best  calculated  to  reach  the  desired  result?  It  appears  to  me, 
sir,  that  we  should  take  action  in  regard  to  persons  and  in  re- 
gard to  States. 

In  reference  to  persons,  we  must  see  to  it  that,  hereafter,,  per- 
sonal liberty  and  personal  rights  are  placed  in  the  keeping  of 
the  nation ;  that  the  right  to  life,  liberty,  and  property  shall  be 
guaranteed  to  the  citizen  in  reality,  as  it  now  is  in  the  words 
of  the  Constitution,  and  no  longer  be  left  to  the  caprice  of 
mobs  or  the  contingencies  of  local  legislation.  If  our  Consti- 
tution does  not  now  afford  all  the  powers  necessary  to  that  end, 
we  must  ask  the  people  to  add  them.  We  must  give  full  force 
and  effect  to  the  provision  that  '*  no  person  shall  be  deprived 
of  life,  liberty,  or  property  without  due  process  of  law."  We 
must  make  it  as  true  in  fact  as  it  is  in  law,  that  "  The  citizens 


of  each  State  shall  be  entitled  to  all  privileges  and  immunities 
of  citizens  in  the  several  States."  We  must  make  American 
citizenship  the  shield  that  protects  every  citizen,  on  every  foot 
of  our  soil.  The  bill  now  before  the  House  is  one  of  the  means 
for  reaching  this  desirable  result. 

What  shall  be  done  with  the  States  lately  in  rebellion?  How 
shall  we  discharge  our  duty  toward  them?  I  shall  hail  with  joy 
the  day  when  they  shall  all  be  again  in  their  places,  loyally  obe- 
dient and  fully  represented  by  loyal  men.  Are  they  now  enti- 
tled to  admission?  Are  they  worthy  of  so  great  confidence? 
To  my  mind,  Mr.  Speaker,  the  prima  facie  evidence  is  against 
them ;  the  burden  of  proof  rests  on  each  of  them  to  show 
whether  it  is  fit  again  to  enter  the  Federal  circle  in  full  com- 
munion of  privileges.  We  are  sitting  as  a  general  court 
of  the  nation.  They  are  to  appear  at  the  bar  of  the  repub- 
lic, and  show  cause  why  they  should  be  brought  in.  I  say 
the  burden  of  proof  is  upon  their  shoulders.  When  we  knew 
them  last,  they  were  hurling  the  lightnings  of  war  against  us ; 
they  were  starving  our  soldiers  whom  they  held  as  prisoners 
of  war  in  their  dungeons;  they  were  burning  our  towns;  they 
were  hating  the  Union  above  all  things,  and  were  bound  by 
bloody  oaths  to  destroy  it.  Thus  stood  the  case  when  Con- 
gress adjourned  ten  months  ago.  They  must  give  us  proof, 
strong  as  holy  writ,  that  they  have  washed  their  hands  and 
are  worthy  again  to  be  trusted.  No  rumors  of  change;  no 
Delphic  oracle,  telling  beautiful  tales  of  peace  and  restoration ; 
no  gentle  declarations  like  those  that  we  hear  from  the  other 
side  of  this  chamber,  that  the  people  of  the  South  "  have  ac- 
cepted the  results  of  the  war,"  —  will  suffice.  I  know  they  have 
accepted  the  results  of  war,  —  as  Buckner  accepted  them  at 
Fort  Donelson,  as  Pemberton  accepted  them  at  Vicksburg,  as 
Lee  accepted  them  last  April  in  Virginia. 

I  hasten  to  say,  Mr.  Speaker,  that  I  do  not  expect  seven  mil- 
lion men  to  change  their  hearts  —  to  love  what  they  hated 
and  hate  what  they  loved  — on  the  issue  of  a  battle.  Nor  are 
we  set  up  as  a  judge  over  their  beliefs,  their  loves,  or  their 
hatreds.  Our  duty  is  to  demand  that  before  we  admit  them 
they  shall  give  us  sufficient  assurance  that,  whatever  they  may 
think,  believe,  or  wish,  their  actions  in  the  future  shall  be  such 
as  loyal  men  can  approve.  What  have  they  done  to  give  us 
that  assurance? 


I  hold  in  my  hand,  Mr.  Speaker,  a  proclamation  issued  a  few 
days  since  by  Benjamin  G.  Humphreys,  late  a  general  in  the 
Rebel  army,  now  the  so-called  Governor  of  Mississippi,  which 
will  illustrate  the  spirit  in  which  it  is  desired  to  administer  the 
affairs  of  reorganized  Mississippi.     He  says :  — 

"  Whereas  section  six  of  an  act  of  the  Legislature  of  the  State  of  Mis- 
sissippi, entitled,  *  An  Act  authorizing  the  issuance  of  treasury  notes  as 
advance  upon  cotton,  approved  December  19,  1861,'  provides  that 
whenever  the  present  blockade  of  the  ports  of  the  Confederate  States 
shall  be  removed,"  etc.,  etc 

**  Now,  therefore,  I,  Benjamin  G.  Humphreys,  Governor  of  the  State 
of  Mississippi,  by  virtue  of  the  authority  vested  in  me  by  the  constitution 
and  laws  of  said  State,  do  hereby  proclaim  that  the  blockade  of  the  ports 
of  the  Confederate  States  has  been  removed ;  and  I  do  require  all  per- 
sons to  whom  advances  have  been  made  to  deliver  the  number  of  bales 
of  cotton  upon  which  they  have  received  an  advance,  in  accordance 
with  their  respective  receipts  on  file  in  the  auditor's  office,  within  ninety 
days  from  the  date  of  this  proclamation." 

Now,  what  does  that  mean  ?  It  means  that  he  recognizes  as 
valid  the  acts  of  the  legislature  of  the  late  Rebel  State  of  Mis- 
sissippi and  of  the  Confederate  States,  and  bases  his  proclama- 
tion thereon.  This  proclamation  reached  us  only  a  few  days 
ago.  And  yet  there  are  members  of  this  House  who  ask  us  to 
admit  the  Representatives  of  Mississippi  at  once! 

Now,  Mr.  Speaker,  in  the  neighboring  State  of  Virginia  a 
law  has  lately  been  passed  which  declares  certain  negroes 
vagrants,  and  provides  that  as  a  penalty  they  may  be  sold 
into  slavery.  Major-General  Terry,  on  the  24th  of  January, 
issued  his  military  order  nullifying  that  law.  Is  that  a  civil 
government  in  which  the  military  authorities  abrogate  the  laws? 
Are  the  men  who  make  such  laws  worthy  of  our  confidence? 
I  say  again,  the  case  is  against  them,  the  burden  of  proof  is  on 
their  shoulders.  They  must  purge  themselves  before  I  can 
consent  to  let  them  in. 

How  stands  the  case  in  Tennessee,  the  least  treasonable  of 
all?  In  a  letter  addressed  to  yourself,  Mr.  Speaker,  under  date 
of  January  15,  1866,  after  pleading  for  the  admission  of  the  del- 
egation from  that  State,  Governor  Brownlow  says :  — 

"  Not  a  man  south  of  Tennessee  should  be  admitted  until  those  States 
manifest  less  of  the  spirit  of  rebellion,  and  elect  a  more  loyal  set  of  men, 
and  men  who  can  take  the  Congressional  test  oath,  which  but  few  of 
those  elected  can  do. 


"  If  the  removal  of  the  Federal  troops  from  Tennessee  must  necessa- 
rily follow  upon  the  admission  of  our  Congressional  delegation  to  their 
seats,  why,  then,  and  in  that  case,  the  loyal  men  of  Tennessee  beg  to  be 
without  Representatives  in  Congress.  But  our  members  can  be  admit- 
ted, and  a  military  force  retained  sufficient  to  govern  and  control  the 
rebellious.  I  tell  you,  and  through  you  all  whom  it  may  concern,  that 
without  a  law  to  disfranchise  Rebels  and  a  force  to  carry  out  the  provis- 
ions of  that  law,  this  State  will  pass  into  the  hands  of  the  Rebels,  and  a 
terrible  state  of  affairs*  is  bound  to  follow.  Union  men  will  be  driven 
from  the  State,  forced  to  sacrifice  what  they  have,  and  seek  homes  else- 
where. And  yet  Tennessee  is  in  a  much  better  condition  than  any  of 
the  other  revolted  States,  and  affords  a  stronger  loyal  population. 

"  Those  who  suppose  the  South  is  '  reconstructed,'  and  that  her  people 
cheerfully  accept  the  results  of  the  war,  are  fearfully  deceived.  The  whole 
South  is  full  of  the  spirit  of  rebellion,  and  the  people  are  growing  more 
bitter  and  insolent  every  day.  Rebel  newspapers  are  springing  up  all 
over  the  South,  and  speaking  out  in  terms  of  bitterness  and  reproach 
against  the  government  of  the  United  States.  These  papers  lead  the 
people,  and  at  the  same  time  reflect  their  sentiments  and  feelings.  Of 
the  twenty-one  papers  in  Tennessee,  fourteen  are  decidedly  Rebel,  out- 
spoken and  undisguised,  some  of  them  pretending  to  acquiesce  in  the 
existing  state  of  affairs.  In  all  the  vacancies  occurring  in  our  legis- 
lature, even  with  our  franchise  law  in  force,  Rebels  are  invariably 
returned,  and  in  some  instances  Rebel  officers  limping  from  wounds 
received  in  battle  fighting  against  the  United  States  forces ;  and  yet 
I  tell  you  that  Tennessee  is  in  a  better  condition  than  any  other  re- 
volted State. 

"  Others  will  give  you  a  more  favorable  account.  I  cannot  in  justice 
to  myself  and  the  truth.  I  think  I  know  the  Southern  people.  I  have 
lived  fifty-eight  years  in  the  South  of  choice,  and  two  at  the  North  of 

In  view  of  these  facts,  we  await  further  proofs. 

But,  sir,  there  is  a  duty  laid  upon  us  by  the  Constitution. 
That  duty  is  declared  in  these  words :  "  The  United  States  shall 
guarantee  to  every  State  in  this  Union  a  republican  form  of 
government."  What  does  that  mean?  Read  the  twenty-first 
and  forty-third  numbers  of  the  Federalist,  and  you  will  under- 
stand what  the  fathers  of  the  Constitution  meant  when  they  put 
that  clause  into  our  organic  law.  With  wonderful  foresight, 
amounting  almost  to  prophecy,  they  appear  to  have  foreseen 
just  such  a  contingency  as  the  one  that  has  arisen.  Madi- 
son said  that  an  insurrection  might  arise  too  powerful  to  be 
suppressed  by  the  local  authorities,  and   Congress  must  have 

VOL.  1.  8 



authority  to  put  it  down,  and  to  see  that  no  usurping  govern- 
ment shall  be  erected  on  the  ruins  of  a  State. 

What  is  a  republican  form  of  government?  When  the  Union 
was  formed  the  free  colored  people  were  not  a  tenth  of  the  pop- 
ulation of  any  State.  Now  all  black  men  are  free  citizens ;  and 
"  we  are  asked,"  as  the  lamented  Henry  Winter  Davis  has  so 
clearly  stated  it,  "  to  recognize  as  republican  such  despot- 
isms as  these:  in  North  Carolina  631,000  citizens  will  ostra- 
cize 331,000  citizens  ;  in  Virginia,  719,000  citizens  will  ostracize 
533,000  citizens;  in  Alabama,  596,000  citizens  will  ostracize 
437,000  citizens;  in  Louisiana,  357,000  citizens  will  ostracize 
350,000  citizens;  in  Mississippi,  353,000  citizens  will  ostracize 
436,000  citizens ;  in  South  Carolina  291,000  citizens  will  ostra- 
cize 411,000  citizens." 

We  are  asked  to  guarantee  all  these  as  republican  govern- 
ments !  Gentlemen,  upon  the  other  side  of  the  House  ask  us  to 
let  such  shameless  despotisms  as  these  be  represented  here  as 
republican  States.  I  venture  to  assert  that  a  more  monstrous 
proposition  was  never  before  made  to  an  American  Congress. 

I  am  therefore  in  favor  of  the  amendment  to  the  Constitution 
that  passed  the  House  yesterday,  to  reform  the  basis  of  repre- 
sentation.^ I  could  have  wished  that  it  had  been  more  thorough 
and  searching  in  its  terms;  I  took  it  as  the  best  we  could  get; 
but  I  say  here,  before  this  House,  that  I  will  never,  so  long  as  I 
have  any  voice  in  political  affairs,  rest  satisfied  until  the  way  is 
opened  by  which  these  colored  citizens,  so  soon  as  they  are 
worthy,  shall  be  lifted  to  the  full  rights  of  citizenship.  I  will 
not  be  factious  in  my  action  here.  If  I  cannot  to-day  get  all 
I  desire,  I  will  try  again  to-morrow,  securing  all  that  can  be 
obtained  to-day.  But  so  long  as  I  have  any  voice  or  vote  here, 
it  shall  aid  in  giving  the  suffrage  to  every  citizen  qualified,  by 
intelligence,  to  exercise  it. 

Mr.  Speaker,  I  know  of  nothing  more  dangerous  to  a  republic 
than  to  put  into  its  very  midst  four  million  people  stripped  of 
the  rights  of  citizenship,  robbed  of  the  right  of  representa- 
tion, but  bound  to  pay  taxes  to  the  government.  If  they  can 
endure  it,  we  cannot.  The  murderer  is  to  be  pitied  more  than 
the  murdered  man;  the  robber  more  than  the  robbed;  and 
we  who  defraud  four  million  citizens  of  their  rights  are  injuring 

1  Namely,  an  amendment  adopted  by  the  House,  January  31,  1866,  but  rejected 
by  the  Senate. 


ourselves  vastly  more  than  we  are  injuring  those  whom  we  de- 
fraud. I  say  that  the  inequality  of  rights  before  the  law,  which 
is  now  a  part  of  our  system,  is  more  dangerous  to  us  than  to 
the  black  man  whom  it  disfranchises.  It  is  like  a  foreign  sub- 
stance in  the  body,  a  thorn  in  the  flesh;  it  will  wound  and 
disease  the  body  politic. 

I  remember  that  this  question  of  suffrage  caused  one  of  the 
greatest  civil  wars  in  the  history  of  Rome.  Ninety  years  before 
Christ,  when  Rome  was  near  the  climax  of  her  glory,  just  before 
the  dawn  of  the  Augustan  age,  twelve  peoples  of  Italy,  to  whom 
the  franchise  was  denied,  rose  in  rebellion  against  Rome ;  and 
after  three  years  and  ten  months  of  bloody  war  they  compelled 
Rome  to  make  her  first  capitulation  for  three  hundred  years. 
For  three  hundred  years  the  Roman  eagle  had  been  carried 
triumphantly  over  every  battle-field ;  but  when  iron  Rome,  with 
all  her  pride  and  glory,  met  men  who  were  fighting  for  the 
right  of  suffrage,  she  was  compelled  to  succumb,  and  give  the 
ballot  to  the  twelve  peoples  to  save  herself  from  dissolution. 
Let  us  learn  wisdom  from  that  lesson,  and  extend  the  suffrage 
to  people  who  may  one  day  bring  us  more  disaster  than  foreign 
or  domestic  war  has  yet  done. 

I  must  refer  for  a  moment  to  the  proposition  of  my  friend 
from  Connecticut,^  who  asks  us  to  imbed  in  the  imperishable 
bulwarks  of  the  Constitution  an  amendment  that  will  forbid 
secession  in  the  future.  I  want  no  such  change  of  the  Consti- 
tution. The  Rebels  never  had,  by  the  Constitution,  the  right 
to  secede.  If  we  have  not  settled  that  question  by  war,  it  can 
never  be  settled  by  a  court.  The  court  of  war  is  higher  than 
any  other  tribunal.  As  the  Governor  of  Ohio  has  so  well  said, 
"  These  things  have  been  decided  in  the  dread  court  of  last  re- 
sort for  peoples  and  nations.  By  as  much  as  the  shock  of  armed 
hosts  is  more  grand  than  the  intellectual  tilt  of  lawyers,  as  the 
God  of  battles  is  a  more  awful  judge  than  any  earthly  court,  by 
so  much  does  the  dignity  of  this  contest  and  the  finality  of  this 
decision  exceed  that  of  any  human  tribunal."  I  care  not  what 
provision  might  be  in  the  Constitution ;  if  any  States  of  this 
Union  desire  to  rebel  and  break  up  the  Union,  and  are  able  to 
do  it,  they  will  do  it  in  spite  of  the  Constitution.  All  I  want, 
therefore,  is  so  to  amend  our  Constitution  and  administer  our 
laws  as  to  secure  liberty  and  loyalty  among  the  citizens  of  the 
Rebel  States. 

*  Mr.  Deming. 


I  am  not  among  those  who  believe  that  all  men  in  the  South 
are  enemies  in  the  eye  of  the  law.  Their  property  was  "  enemy's 
property "  when  it  was  transported  and  used  contrary  to  the 
laws  of  the  government ;  but  all  are  not  therefore  enemies  of  the 
government.  Judge  Sprague,  in  the  Amy  Warwick  case,^  dis- 
tinctly declared  that  they  were  only  enemies  in  a  technical  sense ; 
and  in  reference  to  property,  Justice  Nelson,  in  1862,  declared 
distinctly  that  men  who  resided  within  the  limits  of  the  rebel- 
lious States  were  not  therefore  to  be  considered  as  enemies. 
He  distinctly  declared  that  the  question  of  their  property  be- 
ing enemy's  property  depended  upon  the  use  made  of  it.  If 
the  attempt  was  made  to  take  and  transport  the  property  in 
opposition  to  law,  then  it  fell  under  the  technical  category  of 
enemy's  property,  and  not  otherwise.  I  take  it  for  granted  that 
the  farm  of  Andrew  Johnson,  in  Tennessee,  was  never  enemy's 
property.  If  he  had  undertaken  to  violate  the  revenue  laws  in 
the  use  of  his  property,  it  would  have  become  such. 

I  remember  that  the  long  range  of  mountains  stretching  from 
Western  Virginia,  through  Tennessee  and  Georgia,  to  the  sand- 
hills of  Mississippi,  stood  like  a  promontory  in  the  fiery  ruin 
with  which  the  Rebellion  had  involved  the  republic.  I  re- 
member that  East  Tennessee,  with  its  loyal  thousands,  stood 
like  a  rock  in  the  sea  of  treason.  I  remember  that  thirty-five 
thousand  brave  men  from  Tennessee  stood  beside  us  to  assist 
in  putting  down  the  Rebellion.  They  are  not  enemies  of  the 
country,  and  never  were ;  and  it  is  cruelly  wicked,  by  any  fic- 
tion of  the  law,  to  call  them  so..  To  those  patriotic  men  of 
Tennessee  let  me  say,  I  want  you  to  show  that  there  is  behind 
you  a  loyal  State  government,  based  on  the  will  of  loyal  peo- 
ple, and  that  districts  of  loyal  constituents  have  sent  you  here. 
When  you  do  that,  you  shall  have  my  vote  in  favor  of  your 
admission.     But  the  burden  of  proof  is  on  your  shoulders. 

Mr.  Speaker,  let  us  learn  a  lesson  from  the  dealings  of  God 
with  the  Jewish  nation.  When  his  chosen  people,  led  by  the 
pillar  of  cloud  and  fire,  had  crossed  the  Red  Sea  and  traversed 
the  gloomy  wilderness  with  its  thundering  Sipai,  its  bloody  bat- 
tles, disastrous  defeats,  and  glorious  victories,  —  when  near  the 
end  of  their  perilous  pilgrimage  they  listened  to  the  last  words 
of  blessing  and  warning  from  their  great  leader,  before  he  was 
buried  with  immortal  honors  by  the  angel  of  the  Lord,  —  when 
at  last  the  victorious  host,  sadly  joyful,   stood  on  the  banks 

^  2  Sprague 's  Decisions,  123. 


of  the  Jordan,  their  enemies  drowned  in  the  sea  or  slain  in  the 
wilderness,  —  they  paused,  and,  having  reviewed  the  history  of 
God's  dealings  with  them,  made  solemn  preparation  to  pass 
over  and  possess  the  land  of  promise.  By  the  command  of 
God,  given  through  Moses  and  enforced  by  his  great  successor, 
the  ark  of  the  covenant,  containing  the  tables  of  the  Law  and 
the  sacred  memorials  of  their  pilgrimage,  was  borne  by  chosen 
men  two  thousand  cubits  in  advance  of  the  people.  On  the 
farther  shore  stood  Ebal  and  Gerizim,  the  mounts  of  cursing 
and  blessing,  from  which,  in  the  hearing  of  all  the  people,  were 
pronounced  the  curses  of  God  against  injustice  and  disobe- 
dience, and  his  blessing  upon  justice  and  obedience.  On  the 
shore,  between  the  mountains  and  in  the  midst  of  the  people,  a 
monument  was  erected,  and  on  it  was  written  the  words  of  the 
law,  "  to  be  a  memorial  unto  the  children  of  Israel  for  ever  and 
ever."  Let  us  learn  wisdom  from  this  illustrious  example.  We 
have  passed  the  Red  Sea  of  slaughter;  our  garments  are  yet 
wet  with  its  crimson  spray.  We  have  crossed  the  fearful  wil- 
derness of  war,  and  have  left  our  three  hundred  thousand  heroes 
to  sleep  beside  the  dead  enemies  of  the  republic.  We  have 
heard  the  voice  of  God  amid  the  thunders  of  battle  command- 
ing us  to  wash  our  hands  of  iniquity,  —  to  '*  proclaim  liberty 
throughout  all  the  land  unto  all  the  inhabitants  thereof."  When 
we  spurned  his  counsels,  we  were  defeated,  and  the  gulfs  of 
ruin  yawned  before  us.  When  we  obeyed  his  voice,  he  gave 
us  victory.  And  now,  at  last,  we  have  reached  the  confines  of 
the  wilderness.  Before  us  is  the  land  of  promise,  the  land  of 
hope,  the  land  of  peace,  filled  with  possibilities  of  greatness 
and  glory  too  vast  for  the  grasp  of  the  imagination.  Arc  we 
worthy  to  enter  it?  On  what  condition  may  it  be  ours  to  enjoy 
and  transmit  to  our  children's  children?  Let  us  pause  and 
make  deliberate  and  solemn  preparation.  Let  us,  as  repre- 
sentatives of  the  people,  whose  servants  we  are,  bear  in  ad- 
vance the  sacred  ark  of  republican  liberty,  with  its  tables  of  the 
law  inscribed  with  the  "  irreversible  guaranties  "  of  liberty.  Let 
us  here  build  a  monument  on  which  shall  be  written,  not  only 
the  curses  of  the  law  against  treason,  disloyalty,  and  oppres- 
sion, but  also  an  everlasting  covenant  of  peace  and  blessing 
with  loyalty,  liberty,  and  obedience;  and  all  the  people  will 
say,  Amen ! 



February  i,  1866,  and  May  25,  187a 

Pending  a  bill  providing  that  no  ship  or  vessel  which  had  been  re- 
corded or  registered  as  an  American  vessel  pursuant  to  law,  and  which 
had  afterward  been  licensed  or  otherwise  authorized  to  sail  under  a  for- 
eign flag  or  the  protection  of  a  foreign  government  during  the  existence 
of  the  rebellion,  should  be  deemed  or  registered  as  an  American  vessel, 
or  should  have  the  rights  and  privileges  of  American  vessels,  except  under 
an  act  of  Congress  authorizing  such  registry,  Mr.  Garfield  made  the  fol- 
lowing remarks,  February  i,  1866. 

MR.  SPEAKER,  —  Without  having  examined  carefully 
the  navigation  laws  of  this  country,  I  have  looked  into 
tHem  enough  to  be  satisfied  of  one  or  two  things,  which  I  de- 
sire to  suggest  to  this  House  before  the  vote  is  taken  on  the 
passage  of  this  bill. 

In  the  first  place,  we  have  navigation  laws  borrowed  from 
those  monuments  of  tyranny,  the  Navigation  Laws  of  Great 
Britain,  which,  more  than  any  other  laws  ever  enacted  by  Par- 
liament, were  the  cause  of  the  American  Revolution.  Among 
other  features  of  these  laws  is  one  that  forbids  the  buying  of  a 
vessel  from  a  foreign  country  and  sailing  it  under  our  flag,  if 
it  is  a  foreign  bottom,  no  matter  how  cheaply  we  may  pur- 
chase it,  or  under  what  circumstances  we  may  obtain  it.  Un- 
less we  ourselves  lay  out  upon  it  more  money  than  the  origi- 
nal cost  of  building  the  bottom  abroad,  we  cannot  sail  it  under 
the  American  flag.  That,  of  course,  shuts  out  all  foreign-built 
vessels,  however  valuable  they  may  be  at  any  time.  But  I  am 
not  discussing  that  subject  now,  nor  will  I  enter  into  a  con- 
sideration of  it  at  this  time. 

The  question  now  under  consideration  is  this.  During  this 
great  war,  when  we  were  unable  to  protect  our  shipping  on  the 




high  seas,  to  protect  our  ships  sailing  under  our  own  flag, 
there  were  many  patriotic  American  citizens  who  simply  regis- 
tered their  vessels  for  sailing  under  a  foreign  flag,  that  they 
might  carry  on  their  commerce  without  having  their  property 
destroyed  by  the  pirates  infesting  the  seas:  Now,  when  eight 
hundred  thousand  tons  of  American  shipping  has  thus  been 
transferred  by  registry  or  by  sale  to  foreign  flags,  it  is  pro- 
posed that  none  of  it  shall  ever  be  registered  again  with  the 
rights  and  privileges  of  American  vessels,  except  by  express 
act  of  Congress.  One  fifth  of  our  tonnage  has  left  us,  and  by 
this  bill  will  be  wholly  excluded  from  our  merchant  marine. 

Now,  one  gentleman  ^  has  spoken  of  these  vessels  as  deserters 
in  the  same  way  precisely  that  we  speak  of  deserters  from  our 
army.  I  care  far  more  about  our  tonnage  on  the  sea  than  I 
care  about  the  individual  shipper  who  took  a  register  under  a 
foreign  flag.  It  is  not  now  a  question  with  me  what  the  status 
of  the  shipper  himself  may  be.  I  do  not  propose  to  injure  all 
the  interests  of  our  merchant  marine  for  the  purpose  of  spiting 
a  few  of  our  speculators.  It  seems  to  me  it  would  show  a  great 
want  of  proper  policy  on  our  part  to  do  so. 

Mr.  Lynch.  What  I  did  say  was  this  :  that  it  would  be  impolitic  for 
any  government  to  encourage  the  desertion  of  its  citizens  with  their 
property  during  a  period  of  war,  those  citizens  identifying  their  interests 
for  the  time  being  with  the  interests  of  the  enemy.  My  remarks  had  no 
reference  whatever  to  "  skippers."  I  did  say,  and  I  now  repeat,  that 
every  man  who,  during  the  war,  put  his  vessel  under  a  foreign  flag  iden- 
tified his  interests  with  those  of  the  foreigners  who  were  assisting  in  the 
destruction  of  our  commerce  ;  and  if  we  encourage  such  desertion,  and 
pay  a  premium  upon  it,  some  of  our  citizens  will  always  desert  us  with 
their  property  in  time  of  war.  I  hold  that  we  should  not  give  encourage- 
ment to  conduct  of  this  sort. 

Mr.  Speaker,  if  in  time  of  war  I  own  a  piece  of  property 
which  I  cannot  keep  safe  in  this  country,  and  the  keeping  of 
which  will  ruin  me  pecuniarily,  I  ask  whether  the  Congress  of 
my  country  should  prohibit  me  from  selling  that  property  to 
foreigners,  or,  if  I  have  sold  it,  prohibit  me  from  repurchasing 
it  and  using  it  here  where  I  first  acquired  that  property?  If  I 
sell  to  a  Canadian,  or  any  other  foreigner,  an  engine  which  I 
own,  and  which  I  have  used  perhaps  to  operate  a  saw-mill  on 
the  Ohio,  is  it  right  that  I  should  be  prohibited  from  repurchas- 

1  Mr.  Lynch,  of  Maine. 


ing  that  engine  by  and  by,  and  using  it  in  this  country?  Now, 
sir,  this  bill  proposes  that,  whenever  an  American  vessel  shall 
have  been  sold  to  a  foreigner,  or  even  registered  to  sail  under 
a  foreign  flag,  such  vessel  shall  never  be  permitted  to  re-enter 
our  service  without  special  authority  from  Congress. 

Mr.  Eliot.  This  bill  does  not  refer  to  sales  of  vessels  at  all,  neither 
sham  sales  nor  bona  fide  sales.  It  only  covers  a  class  of  cases  where 
American  ship-owners  have  obtained  for  their  vessels  the  protection  of 
foreign  powers,  have  procured  permits  or  licenses  from  foreign  govem- 
ments,  thus  waiving  the  benefit  of  their  own  flag  for  the  sake  of  securing 
the  protection  of  foreign  powers.  The  bill  provides  that  in  such  cases 
the  vessel  shall  no  longer  be  deemed  an  American  vessel,  unless  the 
party  interested  can  satisfy  Congress  that  the  vessel  ought  to  be  granted 
an  American  register. 

Mr.  Speaker,  the  gentleman's  statement  is  all  the  worse  for 
his  cause.  He  says  that  the  bill  does  not  apply  to  a  vessel  that 
was  sold,  alienated  to  a  foreigner,  but  pierely  to  vessels  which 
were  registered  to  sail  under  a  foreign  flag  that  could  protect 
them.  What  the  owners  in  the  latter  cases  did  is  not  nearly  so 
bad  as  the  act  of  those  who  alienated  their  vessels  to  foreigners. 
I  say  that  the  owner  of  a  vessel,  if  our  flag  cannot  protect  it, 
ought  to  be  entitled  to  register  his  vessel  under  a  flag  that  can 
protect  it;  and  when  we  are  again  able  to  protect  it,  I  am  in 
favor,  if  not  for  his  sake,  at  least  for  the  sake  of  the  merchant 
service,  of  allowing  his  vessel  to  come  back  and  sail  under  our 
flag,  and  thus  increase  our  tonnage. 

I  maintain  that  this  question  is 'a  matter  of  tonnage,  and  not 
of  men.  I  am  in  favor  of  the  amendment  suggested  by  my 
colleague,^  that  all  these  cases  be  referred  to  the  Secretary  of 
the  Treasury,  who  may  look  into  the  question  of  the  loyalty  of 
the  owner;  and  that  the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury  shall  be  au- 
thorized to  register  his  vessel,  if  he  be  a  loyal  man.  I  would  be 
the  last  man  to  grant  any  favor  to  a  rebel ;  but  I  would  grant 
favors  to  the  American  merchant  service.  I  would  increase  our 

Some  gentlemen  here  propose  to  wait  for  the  increase  of  our 
tonnage  until  the  shipbuilders  of  Maine  and  New  Hampshire, 
and  other  States  on  the  Atlantic  seaboard,  can  build  us  vessels. 
The  gentleman  from  Maine  ^  has  said  that  in  Nova  Scotia  vessels 
can  be  built  at  a  cost  of  forty  dollars  to  the  ton,  while  in  Maine 

1  Mr.  Spaulding.  a  Mr.  Pike. 



their  construction  costs  one  hundred  dollars  to  the  ton.  There- 
fore, it  is  urged,  we  cannot  compete  with  foreign  shipbuilders. 
Now  I  do  not  propose  to  give  the  men  in  the  Atlantic  cities 
sixty  dollars  on  the  hundred,  when  we  can  get  increased  service 
for  the  country  by  simply  re-registering  the  vessels  which  we 
could  not  protect. 

Mr.  Pike.  Will  the  gentleman  tell  me  what  difference  it  makes  to  the 
shipper  in  New  York,  whether  he  imports  his  goods  in  British  or  Ameri- 
can bottoms  ?  What  difference  is  there  in  insurance  ?  And  will  he  tell 
me  further,  whether  it  is  not  a  fact  that  of  the  goods  imported  more  than 
seventy-five  per  cent  do  not  come  in  British  bottoms  ? 

I  will  answer  the  gentleman  with  one  general  fact,  namely, 
that,  for  some  reason  deemed  good  by  them,  the  owners  of  those 
vessels  which  have  been  registered  under  foreign  flags  desire  to 
bring  their  ships  back.  That  is  proved.  If  it  is  for  the  advantage 
of  the  ships  to  come  back  for  business,  they  will  come  back. 

Mr.  Pike.  The  gentleman  speaks,  not  of  shipbuilders,  but  of  mer- 
chants. He  says  that  merchants  would  forthwith  have  to  pay  enhanced 
prices  for  vessels.  I  ask  him  whether  he  cannot  employ  British  ships 
on  precisely  the  same  terms  to  import  his  goods  as  American  ships  ? 
Let  him  answer  that  question. 

Mr.  Speaker,  we  are  talking  now  of  shipping,  and  not  of  the 
interests  of  merchants  of  New  York.  We  arc  talking  of  our 
general  power  to  export  and  import  goods ;  and  now,  when  it  is 
proved  that  a  part  of  our  tonnage  has  gone  during  the  war,  we 
are  asked  to  keep  it  out  in  order  that  the  shipbuilders  of  this 
country  may  have  the  job  of  filling  the  vacuum.  I  propose  we 
shall  fill  that  vacuum  by  the  most  expeditious  method  in  our 

I  call  this  House  to  witness  that  at  the  last  session  I  declared, 
as  I  now  declare,  myself  forever  opposed  to  all  monopolies, 
whether  of  railroads,  shipbuilders,  or  of  any  other  associations, 
which  propose  to  cripple  the  commerce  of  the  republic  cither 
among  the  States  or  upon  the  high  seas.  I  look  on  this  as  one 
of  those  monopolies,  and  I  am  surprised  that  my  able  and  dis- 
tinguished friend  from  the  Galena  district,  Illinois,^  should  vote 
in  any  other  way  than  against  this  measure,  he  being  a  strong 
anti-monopoly  man,  as  he  has  so  often  avowed  himself  on  this 
floor.     I  do  not  care  what  political  company  it  puts  me  in;   I 

^  Mr.  Washburn. 


do  not  care  who  associates  with  me;  I  shall  associate  with 
every  man  who  puts  his  foot  down  on  these  monopolies,  one 
of  which  I  declare  this  to  be. 

[After  some  brief  speeches  from  several  gentlemen,  Mr.  Garfield  con- 

Mr.  Speaker,  I  have  only  two  things  to  say  before  I  call  for 
the  previous  question  and  close  the  debate. 

The  distinguished  gentleman  from  Massachusetts^  said  this 
was  a  proposition  to  exclude  men  who  had  deserted  our  flag. 
I  declare  the  gentleman  has  not  met  the  point.  It  is  not  a  law 
against  men;  it  is  a  law  against  tonnage,  and  not  men.  He 
may  make  all  the  legislation  he  pleases  against  letting  disloyal 
men  come  back,  and  I  will  vote  with  him ;  but  let  him  make 
that  discrimination. 

He  says  we  propose  to  change  the  policy  of  the  government. 
My  answer  is  in  one  word.  It  is  the  gentleman  himself  who 
is  proposing  to  change  the  policy  of  the  government,  as  the 
Secretary  of  the  Treasury  is  every  day  allowing  these  vessels 
to  be  re-rcgistered.  They  propose  by  this  change  of  the  law  to 
keep  these  vessels  out  of  our  merchant  marine.  We  are  simply 
opposing  a  change  in  the  law  in  favor  of  a  monopoly. 

The  gentleman  from  Maine  ^  says,  if  we  make  free  trade  on 
this  subject,  let  us  make  free  trade  on  all.  He  will  not  deter 
me  from  my  purpose  by  shaking  that  red  rag  before  me.  I  do 
not  care  what  name  he  calls  it ;  I  know  it  is  not  free  trade ;  I 
know  only  that  what  he  proposes  is  to  discriminate  against  all 
other  property  and  in  favor  of  the  property  of  the  shipbuilders. 
If  he  will  apply  the  same  law  to  property  in  ships  that  he  applies 
to  all  kinds  of  property  in  the  great  West,  then  he  will  find  that 
he  cannot  maintain  his  law.  All  I  ask  is  that  the  same  law 
shall  be  applied  to  both.     I  call  the  previous  question. 

On  the  25th  of  May,  1870,  pending  a  bill  to  revive  the  navigation 
and  the  commercial  interests  of  the  United  States,  by  means  of  rebates 
of  duties  on  shipbuilding  materials  imported,  and  by  means  of  bounties 
on  tonnage,  Mr.  Garfield  said  :  — 

Mr.  Speaker,  —  I  desire  in  the  ten  minutes  awarded  me  to 
present  three  points  for  the  consideration  of  the  House. 

1  Mr.  Banks.  a  Mr.  Blaine 



I  have  studied  this  subject  as  presented  in  the  report  of  the 
committee  and  elsewhere,  and  it  seems  to  me  that  the  trouble 
about  our  tonnage  at  the  present  time  is  not  that  there  is  a  lack 
of  tonnage  on  the  ocean,  but  that  American  people  do  not  con- 
trol a  requisite  share  of  that  tonnage.  It  seems  to  me  we  shall 
make  a  mistake  if  we  proceed  on  the  supposition  that  there  is 
a  lack  of  tonnage,  and  that  greater  means  of  transportation  on 
the  high  seas  are  needed.  In  a  report  made  in  1 861  by  an 
American  consul,  which  appears  to  be  a  very  comprehensive 
one,  it  was  shown  that  the  tonnage  of  the  world  was  about 
seventeen  million  tons,  of  which  the  United  States  owned  five 
and  a  half  millions ;  Great  Britain  five  and  three  quarters  mil- 
lions ;  and  all  other  countries  about  five  and  three  quarters  mil- 
lions. Or  we  might  say  that  the  tonnage  on  the  high  seas  was 
about  equally  divided  into  three  equal  shares,  of  which  one  was 
held  by  the  United  States,  one  by  Great  Britain,  and  one  by  all 
other  countries. 

It  appears  that  now,  in  consequence  of  the  war  and  various 
other  causes,  there  has  been  a  change  in  the  relative  ownership 
of  the  tonnage,  but  not  in  the  total  amount.  There  are  no 
complaints  from  shippers  that  they  cannot  get  merchandise 
shipped  across  the  sea.  They  complain  only  that  the  Ameri- 
can flag  does  not  cover  a  sufficient  amount  of  the  tonnage. 
The  question,  then,  which  we  have  to  determine,  is  this :  Will 
we  remedy  the  evil  by  increasing  the  total  volume  of  tonnage, 
or  shall  we  seek  some  method  of  placing  a  greater  share  of  it 
under  the  American  flag? 

From  the  latest  reports  of  our  Treasury  Department,  it  ap- 
pears that  the  total  tonnage  of  Great  Britain  is  now  5,500,000 
tons,  while  the  tonnage  of  the  United  States  is  4,144,640  tons. 
But  the  tonnage  of  the  United  States  includes  1,523,931  tons  in 
the  coasting  trade,  661,366  on  our  lakes,  and  392,901  on  our 
rivers,  leaving  our  ocean  tonnage  only  1,566,421  tons,  —  vastly 
less  than  it  was  before  the  war. 

The  trouble  is  not  that  we  have  not  tonnage  at  home ;  it  is 
that  we  lack  tonnage  on  the  seas.  At  the  present  moment 
there  are  one  hundred  and  seventeen  steamers  that  plough  the 
ocean  between  America  and  Europe,  and  not  one  of  them  flies 
the  American  flag.  Nevertheless,  a  respectable  share  of  the 
capital  in  those  ships  is  owned  by  Americans.  The  German 
line  is  very  largely  owned  by  American   citizens;    the  Guion 


line  is,  I  think,  also  mainly  owned  by  American  citizens ;  but 
these  citizens  are  compelled  to  put  their  capital  into  ships  that 
sail  under  foreign  flags.  These  facts  present  the  first  point  I 
desired  to  make,  in  order  that  we  may  see  where  the  difficulty 
lies,  and  keep  this  fact  in  view  in  adopting  remedies. 

I  now  desire  to  call  the  attention  of  the  House  to  a  second 
point,  which  is  this.  I  object  to  the  bill  as  reported  by  the 
committee  because  it  docs  not  give  aid  to  that  part  of  our  com- 
merce that  needs  relief,  to  our  foreign  tonnage,  and  does  give 
aid  where  relief  is  not  needed.  Now,  I  can  have  no  better 
pfoof  of  this  than  the  sensitiveness  of  the  gentleman  from 
Maine  ^  in  regard  to  any  amendment  which  shall  limit  the 
operation  of  the  bill  to  vessels  engaged  in  foreign  trade.  When 
the  bill  was  open  to  amendment  yesterday,  and  when  the  gen- 
tleman from  lowa^  proposed  an  amendment  of  six  words  to 
limit  all  these  drawbacks,  bounties,  subsidies,  tonnage  dues,  and 
various  aids  provided  in  the  bill  to  ships  of  two  thousand  tons 
and  upward,  the  gentleman  in  charge  of  the  bill  would  not 
permit  the  amendment  to  be  offered.  This  morning  the  gen- 
tleman has  offered  a  substitute,  which  I  have  read  at  the  clerk's 
desk,  and  I  find  it  only  limits  the  operation  of  the  bill  to  ships 
of  one  thousand  tons  and  upward,  which  would  include  a  large 
share  of  the  shipping  even  on  our  Northern  lakes,  and  which, 
in  all  its  more  important  features,  will  apply  to  the  coasting 
trade.  I  desire,  therefore,  to  say  that,  whatever  may  be  the 
purpose  of  those  who  support  this  bill,  it  is  perfectly  clear 
that  it  will  give  great  additional  advantages  to  the  builders  of 
ships  for  the  coasting  trade,  —  a  class  of  men  who  are  to-day 
engaged  in  a  business  of  which  they  have  the  absolute  monop- 
oly as  against  all  foreigners.  There  is  not  a  keel  owned  or 
built  by  foreigners  that  can,  under  our  laws,  engage  in  our  lake 
and  coasting  trade.  All  the  vessels  engaged  in  it  are  built  and 
wholly  owned  by  Americans.  There  appears  to  be  no  other 
falling  off  in  our  coasting  trade  than  that  which  the  natural 
competition  of  railroads  has  produced.  Now,  notwithstanding 
this  monopoly,  a  bill  is  proposed  that  cannot  take  less  than 
ten  million  dollars  a  year  out  of  the  treasury,  to  increase  the 
profits  of  those  who  are  engaged  m  building  vessels  for  the 
coasting  trade. 

But  I  have  further  asserted  that  this  bill  will  not  give  the 

1  Mr.  Lynch.  2  ^fr.  Allison. 


needed  relief  to  our  foreign  commerce.  And  why?  It  will 
not  enable  our  shipbuilders  to  compete  with  the  shipbuilders 
of  the  Clyde.  From  the  study  that  I  have  been  able  to  give  to 
the  subject,  I  affirm  that  all  the  subsidies,  bounties,  and  draw- 
backs provided  in  this  bill  will  not  enable  us  to  compete  with 
the  cheap  iron  vessels  built  on  that  river.  Germany  and  all  the 
maritime  countries  of  Europe,  even  those  that  admit  shipbuilding 
materials  free  of  duty,  have  utterly  failed  to  compete  with  the 
Clyde  shipbuilders.  All  the  maritime  countries  of  Europe  are 
to-day  going  to  them  to  buy  their  vessels  for  their  own  trade. 
The  price  of  labor  and  materials  there  is  so  much  less  than  here 
that  it  will  require  nearly  one  hundred  per  cent  of  government 
aid  to  enable  us  to  compete  with  them.  This  is  the  testimony 
of  experts  and  the  experience  of  other  nations.  I  affirm,  there- 
fore, that  for  the  purposes  of  our  foreign  trade  this  bill  is  wholly 
inadequate,  and  for  the  purposes  of  the  coasting  trade  it  is 
wholly  unnecessary.  On  this  statement,  to  which  I  challenge  the 
attention  of  the  House,  I  rest  my  opposition  to  this  bill.  But  I 
will  add  another  consideration. 

There  is  one  feature  of  this  bill,  the  subsidy  provision,  which 
is  odious  to  the  American  people.  It  is  a  feature,  I  think, 
which  no  man  in  this  House,  certainly  no  representative  of  an 
inland  district,  can  support  and  sustain  himself  before  his  con- 
stituents. And  now  we  are  called  upon,  at  the  last  moment,  to 
vote,  as  we  shall  be  compelled  to  do,  I  presume,  under  the  pre- 
vious question,  upon  a  new  bill,  which  has  not  yet  been  read, 
but  which  has  been  reported  by  the  committee  as  a  substitute 
for  the  original  bill  and  all  the  amendments.  Under  these  cir- 
cumstances, I  think  it  wiser  to  lay  the  bill  and  the  pending 
amendments  on  the  table,  or  to  recommit  and  postpone  it  until 
in  calmer  times  and  with  fuller  deliberation  we  can  devise  some 
real  and  effective  remedy  for  our  decayed  commerce.  I  am 
not  at  liberty  to  make  a  motion  on  this  subject,  and  will  now 
return  the  floor  to  the  gentleman  from  Illinois,^  by  whose 
courtesy  I  have  been  occupying  it. 

1  Mr.  Farnsworth. 




June  8,  1866. 

At  its  annual  meeting  held  in  Washington,  D.  C,  in  February,  1866, 
the  National  Association  of  School  Superintendents  memorialized  Con- 
gress to  establish  a  National  Bureau  of  Education.  A  bill  was  also  pre- 
pared by  the  direction  of  the  Association,  embodying  its  vievi's.  By  the 
request  of  the  Association,  Mr.  Garfield  presented  the  memorial  and  the 
bill  in  the  House  of  Representatives.  The  bill  was  read  twice,  referred  to 
a  select  committee  of  seven,  and  ordered  printed.  April  3  following,  he 
reported  from  the  committee  d  substitute  for  the  original  bill,  —  changed 
only  in  the  name.  June  %  he  closed  the  debate  upon  the  bill  in  the 
following  speech.  The  vote  was  adverse.  Immediately  a  motion  to 
reconsider  was  entered.  June  1 9,  the  motion  to  reconsider  was  carried, 
and  the  bill  passed.  At  the  next  session  the  bill  passed  the  Senate,  and 
the  President's  approval,  March  2,  1867,  made  it  law. 

This  measure  was  peculiarly  Mr.  Garfield's  work.  He  introduced  the 
subject  to  the  House,  was  the  chairman  of  the  special  committee,  re- 
ported the  second  bill,  and  was  its  principal  champion  on  the  floor. 
Both  the  Bureau  and  his  speech  attracted  the  attention  of  educators  and 
the  friends  of  education  beyond  the  sea.    An  example  is  furnished  by 

the  following  letter :  — 

"  RocHDvVLE,  January  4,  186S. 

"  Dear  Sir,  —  I  ^vrite  to  thank  you  for  sending  me  a  copy  of  General 
Garfield's  speech  on  education.     I  have  read  it  with  much  interest 

"  The  department  now  to  be  constituted  at  Washington  will  doubt- 
less prepare  statistics  which  will  inform  the  world  of  what  is  doing  in  the 
United  States  on  the  Education  question ;  and  the  volume  it  will  publish 
will  have  a  great  effect  in  this  country,  and,  indeed,  in  all  civilized 
countries.  You  will  have  observed  the  increased  interest  in  education 
shown  in  England  since  the  extension  of  the  suffrage.  I  hope  some 
great  and  good  measure  may  be  passed  at  an  early  period.     I  am  very 

truly  yours. 

"John  Bright. 

"George  J.  Abbott,  Esq.,  United  States  Consul,  Sheffield." 

THE  NA TIONAL  B  UREA  U  OF  ED  UCA  TION.      1 27 

The  bill  as  drawn  by  Mr.  Garfield,  and  as  it  became  a  law,  is  as 
follows :  — 

"  An  Act  to  establish  a  Department  of  Education. 

"  Be  it  enacted  by  the  Senate  and  House  of  Representatives  of  the  United 
States  of  America  in  Congress  assembled^  That  there  shall  be  established, 
at  the  city  of  Washington,  a  Department  of  Education,  for  the  purpose 
of  collecting  such  statistics  and  facts  as  shall  show  the  condition  and  pro- 
gress of  education  in  the  several  States  and  Territories,  and  of  diffusing 
such  information  respecting  the  organization  and  management  of  schools 
and  school  systems,  and  methods  of  teaching,  as  shall  aid  the  people 
of  the  United  States  in  the  establishment  and  maintenance  of  efficient 
,  school  systems,  and  otherwise  promote  the  cause  of  education  throughout 
the  country. 

"  Sec.  2.  And  be  it  further  enacted y  That  there  shall  be  appointed  by 
the  President,  by  and  with  the  advice  and  consent  of  the  Senate,  a  Com- 
missioner of  Education,  who  shall  be  intrusted  with  the  management  of 
the  Department  herein  established,  and  who  shall  receive  a  salary  of  four 
thousand  dollars  per  annum,  and  who  shall  have  authority  to  appoint  one 
chief  clerk  of  his  Department,  who  shall  receive  a  salary  of  two  thousand 
dollars  per  annum,  one  clerk  who  shall  receive  a  salary  of  eighteen 
hundred  dollars  per  annum,  and  one  clerk  who  shall  receive  a  salary  of 
sixteen  hundred  dollars  per  annum,  which  said  clerks  shall  be  subject  to 
the  appointing  and  removing  power  of  the  Commissioner  of  Education. 

"  Sec.  3.  And  be  it  further  enacted^  That  it  shall  be  the  duty  of  the 
Commissioner  of  Education  to  present  annually  to  Congress  a  report 
embod}ing  the  results  of  his  investigations  and  labors,  together  with  a 
statement  of  such  facts  and  recommendations  as  will,  in  his  judgment, 
subserve  the  purpose  for  which  this  Department  is  established.  In  the 
first  report  made  by  the  Commissioner  of  TLducation  under  this  act, 
there  shall  be  presented  a  statement  of  the  several  grants  of  land  made  by 
Congress  to  promote  education,  and  the  manner  in  which  these  several 
trusts  have  been  managed,  the  amount  of  funds  arising  therefrom,  and 
the  annual  proceeds  of  the  same,  as  far  as  the  same  can  be  determined. 

"  Sec.  4.  And  be  it  further  enacted.  That  the  Commissioner  of  Public 
Buildings  is  hereby  authorized  and  directed  to  furnish  proper  offices  for 
the  use  of  the  Department  herein  established.'* 

MR.  SPEAKER,  —  I  did  intend  to  make  a  somewhat  elabo- 
rate statement  of  the  reasons  why  the  select  committee 
recommend  the  passage  of  this  bill ;  but  I  know  the  anxiety 
that  many  gentlemen  feel  to   have   the   debate   concluded,  to 

1 28      THE  NA TIONAL  B  UREA  U  OF  ED  UCA TION. 

allow  the  private  bills  now  on  the  calendar,  and  set  for  to- 
day, to  be  disposed  of,  and  to  complete  as  soon  as  possible 
the  work  oif  this  session.  I  will  therefore  abandon  my  original 
purpose,  and  restrict  myself  to  a  brief  statement  of  a  few 
leading  points  in  the  argument,  and  leave  the  decision  with 
the  House.  I  hope  this  waiving  of  a  full  discussion  of  the  bill 
will  not  be  construed  into  a  confession  that  it  is  inferior  in 
importance  to  any  measure  before  the  House;  for  I  know  of 
none  that  has  a  nobler  object,  or  that  more  vitally  affects  the 
future -of  this  nation. 

I  first  ask  the  House  to  consider  the  magnitude  of  the 
interests  involved  in  the  bill.  The  very  attempt  •to  discover  ' 
the  amount  of  pecuniary  and  personal  interest  we  have  in  our 
schools  shows  the  necessity  of  such  a  law  as  is  here  proposed. 
I  have  searched  in  vain  for  any  complete  or  reliable  statistics 
showing  the  educational  condition  of  the  whole  country.  The 
estimates  that  I  have  made  are  gathered  from  various  sources^ 
and  can  be  only  approximately  correct.  I  am  satisfied,  how- 
ever, that  they  are  far  below  the  truth. 

Even  from  the  incomplete  and  imperfect  educational  sta- 
tistics of  the  Census  Bureau,  it  appears  that  in  i860  there 
were  in  the  United  States  115,224  common  schools,  500,000 
school  officers,  150,241  teachers,  and  5,477,037  scholars;  thus 
showing  that  more  than  6,000,000  of  the  people  of  the  United 
States  are  directly  engaged  in  the  work  of  education.  Not 
only  has  this  large  proportion  of  our  population  been  thus 
engaged,  but  the  Congress  of  the  United  States  has  given 
53,000,000  acres  of  public  lands  to  fourteen  States  and  Ter- 
ritories of  the  Union  for  the  support  of  schools.  In  the  old 
ordinance  of  1785,  it  was  provided  that  one  section  of  every 
township  —  one  thirty-sixth  of  all  the  public  lands  of  the 
United  States  —  should  be  set  apart,  and  held  forever  sacred 
to  the  support  of  the  schools  of  the  country.  In  the  ordinance 
of  1787,  it  was  declared  that,  "religion,  morality,  and  knowl- 
edge being  necessary  to  good  government  and  the  happiness 
of  mankind,  schools  and  the  means  of  education  shall  forever 
be  encouraged."  It  is  estimated  that  at  least  $50,000,000 
has  been  given  in  the  United  States  by  private  individuals 
for  the  support  of  schools.  We  have  thus  an  interest,  even 
pecuniarily  considered,  hardly  second  to  any  other.  We  have 
school  statistics  tolerably  complete  from  only  seventeen  States 

THE  NA  T TONAL  B  UREA  U  OF  ED  UCA  TION.      1 29 

of  the  Union.  Our  Congressional  library  contains  no  edu- 
cational reports  whatever  from  the  remaining  nineteen.  In 
those  seventeen  States,  there  are  90,835  schools,  129,000  teach- 
ers, 5,107,285  pupils;  and  $34,000,000  is  annually  appropri- 
ated by  the  legislatures  for  the  support  and  maintenance  of 
common  schools.  Notwithstanding  the  great  expenditures  en- 
tailed upon  them  during  four  years  of  war,  they  raised  by 
taxation  $34,000,000  annually  for  the  support  of  public  edu- 
cation. In  several  States  of  the  Union,  more  than  fifty  per 
cent  of  all  the  tax  imposed  for  State  purposes  is  for  the  sup- 
port of  the  public  schools.  And  yet  gentlemen  are  impatient 
because  we  wish  to  occupy  a  short  time  in  considering  this 

I  will  not  trouble  the  House  by  repeating  such  commonplaces, 
so  familiar  to  every  gentleman  here,  as  that  our  system  of  govern- 
ment is  based  upon  the  intelligence  of  the  people.  But  I  wish 
to  suggest  that  there  never  has  been  a  time  when  all  our  educa- 
tional forces  should  be  in  such  perfect  activity  as  at  the  present 
day.  Ignorance — stolid  ignorance — is  not  our  most  dangerous 
enemy.  There  is  very  little  of  that  kind  of  ignorance  among  the 
white  population  of  this  country.  In  the  Old  World,  among 
the  despotic  governments  of  Europe,  the  great  disfranchised 
class  —  the  pariahs  of  political  and  social  life  —  are  indeed 
ignorant,  mere  inert  masses,  moved  and  controlled  by  the  intel- 
ligent and  cultivated  aristocracy.  Any  unrepresented  and  hope- 
lessly disfranchised  class  in  a  government  will  inevitably  be 
struck  with  intellectual  paralysis.  Our  late  slaves  afford  a  sad 
illustration.  But  among  the  represented  and  voting  classes  of 
this  country,  where  all  are  equal  before  the  law,  and  every  man 
is  a  political  power  for  good  or  evil,  there  is  but  little  of  the 
inertia  of  ignorance.  The  alternatives  are  not  education  or  no 
education ;  but  shall  the  power  of  the  citizen  be  directed  aright 
towards  industry,  liberty,  and  patriotism?  or,  under  the  baneful 
influence  of  false  theories  and  evil  influences,  shall  it  lead  him 
continually  downward,  and  work  out  anarchy  and  ruin,  both  to 
him  and  the  government?  If  he  is  not  educated  in  the  school 
of  virtue  and  integrity,  he  will  be  educated  in  the  school  of  vice 
and  iniquity.  We  are,  therefore,  afloat  on  the  sweeping  current: 
we  must  make  head  against  it,  or  we  shall  go  down  with  it  to 
the  saddest  of  destinies.  According  to  the  census  of  i860, 
there   were    1,218,311    inhabitants  of  the   United   States   over 

VOL.  L  9 

1 30      THE  NA  TIONAL  B  UREA  U  OF  ED  UCA  TION. 

twenty-one  years  of  age  who  could  not  read  or  write;  and 
871,418  of  these  were  American-born  citizens.  One  third  of  a 
million  of  people  are  being  annually  thrown  upon  our  shores 
from  the  Old  World,  a  large  per  cent  of  whom  are  uneducated ; 
and  the  gloomy  total  has  been  swelled  by  the  four  million  slaves 
admitted  to  citizenship  by  the  events  of  the  war. 

Such,  sir,  is  the  immense  force  which  we  must  now  confront 
by  the  genius  of  our  institutions  and  the  light  of  our  civiliza- 
tion. How  shall  it  be  done?  An  American  citizen  can  give 
but  one  answer.  We  must  pour  upon  them  all  the  light  of  our 
public  schools.  We  must  make  them  intelligent,  industrious, 
patriotic  citizens,  or  they  will  drag  us  and  our  children  down  to 
their  level.  Does  not  this  question  rise  to  the  full  height  of 
national  importance,  and  demand  the  best  efforts  of  statesman- 
ship to  adjust  it? 

Horace  Mann  has  well  said,  — 

"  Legislators  and  rulers  are  responsible.  In  our  country  and  in  our 
times  no  man  is  worthy  the  honored  name  of  a  statesman  who  does  not 
include  the  highest  practicable  education  of  the  people  in  all  his  plans 
of  administration.  He  may  have  eloquence,  he  may  have  a  knowledge 
of  all  history,  diplomacy,  jurispmdence,  and  by  these  he  may  claim,  in 
other  countries,  the  elevated  rank  of  a  statesman  ;  but  unless  he  speaks, 
plans,  labors,  at  all  times  and  in  all  places,  for  the  culture  and  edification 
of  the  whole  people,  he  is  not,  he  cannot  be,  an  American  statesman."  ^ 

Gentlemen  who  have  discussed  the  bill  this  morning  tell  us 
that  it  will  result  in  great  expense  to  the  government.  Whether 
an  enterprise  is  expensive  or  not  is  altogether  a  relative  ques- 
tion, to  be  determined  by  the  importance  of  the  object  in  view. 

Now,  what  have  we  done  as  a  nation  in  the  way  of  expenses? 
In  1832  we  organized  a  Coast  Survey  Bureau,  and  have  ex- 
pended millions  upon  it.  Its  officers  have  triangulated  thou- 
sands of  miles  of  our  coasts,  have  made  soundings  of  all  our 
bays  and  harbors,  and  carefully  mapped  the  shoals,  breakers, 
and  coast-lines  from  our  northern  boundary  on  the  Atlantic  to 
the  extreme  northern  boundary  on  the  Pacific  coast.  They 
have  established  eight  hundred  tidal  stations  to  observe  the  fluc- 
tuations of  the  tides.  We  have  expended  vast  sums  in  order 
perfectly  to  know  the  topography  of  our  coasts,  lakes,  and  rivers, 
that  we  might  make  navigation  more  safe.  Is  it  of  no  conse- 
quence that  we  explore  the  boundaries  of  that  wonderful  intel- 

>  Life  and  Works,  Vol.  II.  p.  1S8  (Cambridge,  1867). 

THE  NA  TIONAL  B  UREA  U  OF  ED  UCA  TION.      \  3 1 

lectual  empire  which  encloses  within  its  domain  the  fate  of 
succeeding  generations  and  of  this  republic?  The  children  of 
to-day  will  be  the  architects  of  our  country's  destiny  in  1900. 

We  have  established  an  Astronomical  Observatory,  where 
the  movements  of  the  stars  are  watched,  latitude  and  longitude 
calculated,  and  chronometers  regulated  for  the  benefit  of  navi- 
gation. For  this  observatory  we  pay  one  third  of  a  million  per 
annum.  Is  it  of  no  consequence  that  you  observe  the  move- 
ments of  those  stars  which  shall,  in  the  time  to  come,  be  guid- 
ing 3tars  in  our  national  firmament? 

We  have  established  a  Light-House  Board  that  is  employing 
all  the  aids  of  science  to  discover  the  best  modes  of  regulating 
the  beacons  upon  our  shores :  it  is  placing  buoys  as  way-marks 
to  guide  ships  safely  into  our  harbors.  Will  you  not  create  a 
light-house  board  to  set  up  beacons  for  the  coming  genera- 
tion, not  as  lights  to  the  eye,  but  to  the  mind  and  heart,  that 
shall  guide  them  safely  in  the  perilous  voyage  of  life,  and  enable 
them  to  transmit  the  blessings  of  liberty  to  those  who  shall 
come  after  them  ? 

We  have  set  on  foot  a  score  of  expeditions  to  explore  the 
mountains  and  valleys,  the  lakes  and  rivers,  of  this  and  other 
countries.  We  have  expended  money  without  stint  to  explore 
the  Amazon  and  the  Jordan,  Chili  and  Japan,  the  gold  shores 
of  Colorado  and  the  copper  cliffs  of  Lake  Superior,  to  gather 
and  publish  the  great  facts  of  science,  and  to  exhibit  the 
material  resources  of  physical  nature.  Will  you  refuse  the 
pitiful  sum  of  $13,000  to  collect  and  record  the  intellectual 
resources  of  this  country,  the  elements  that  lie  behind  all 
material  wealth,  and  make  it  either  a  curse  or  a  blessing? 

We  have  paid  three  quarters  of  a  million  dollars  for  the  sur- 
vey of  the  route  for  the  Pacific  Railroad,  and  have  published 
the  results,  at  a  great  cost,  in  thirteen  quarto  volumes,  with 
accompanying  maps  and  charts.  The  money  for  these  pur- 
poses was  freely  expended.  And  now,  when  it  is  proposed  to 
appropriate  $13,000  to  aid  in  increasing  the  intelligence  of 
those  who  will  use  that  great  continental  highway  when  it  is 
completed,  we  are  reminded  of  our  debts,  and  warned  against 
increasing  our  expenditures.  It  is  difficult  to  treat  such  an 
objection  with  the  respect  that  is  always  due  in  this  hall  of 

We   have   established   a   Patent- Office,   where   are   annually 

1 3  2      THE  NA  TIONAL  B  UREA  U  OF  ED  UCA  TION. 

accumulated  thousands  of  models  of  new  machines  invented 
by  our  people.  Will  you  make  no  expenditure  for  the  benefit 
of  the  intelligence  that  shall  stand  behind  those  machines,  and 
be  their  controller?  Will  you  bestow  all  your  favors  upon  the 
engine  and  ignore  the  engineer?  I  will  not  insult  the  intelli- 
gence of  this  House  by  waiting  to  prove  that  money  paid  for 
education  is  the  most  economical  of  all  expenditures ;  that  it  is 
cheaper  to  prevent  crime  than  to  build  jails ;  that  schoolhouses 
are  less  expensive  than  rebellions.  A  tenth  of  our  national 
debt  expended  in  public  education  fifty  years  ago  would  .  have 
saved  us  the  blood  and  treasure  of  the  late  war.  A  far  less  sum 
may  save  our  children  from  a  still  greater  calamity. 

We  expend  hundreds  of  thousands  annually  to  promote  the 
agricultural  interests  of  the  country, —  to  introduce  the  best 
methods  in  all  that  pertains  to  husbandry.  Is  it  not  of  more 
consequence  to  do  something  for  the  farmer  of  the  future  than 
for  the  farm  of  to-day?  As  man  is  more  precious  than  soil,  as 
the  immortal  spirit  is  nobler  than  the  clod  it  animates,  so  is  the 
object  of  this  bill  more  important  than  any  mere  pecuniary 

The  genius  of  our  government  does  not  allow  us  to  establish 
a  compulsory  system  of  education,  as  is  done  in  some  of  the 
countries  of  Europe.  There  are  States  in  this  Union,  however, 
which  have  adopted  a  compulsory  system;  and  perhaps  that 
is  well.  It  is  for  each  State  to  determine.  A  distinguished 
gentleman  from  Rhode  Island  told  me  lately,  that  it  is  now  the 
law  in  that  State  that  every  child  within  its  bordefs  shall  attend 
school,  and  that  every  vagrant  child  shall  be  taken  in  charge  by 
the  authorities,  and  sent  to  school.  It  may  be  well  for  other 
States  to  pursue  the  same  course;  but  probably  the  general 
government  can  do  nothing  of  the  sort.  Whether  it  has  the 
right  of  compulsory  control  or  not,  we  propose  none  in  this 
bill.  But  we  do  propose  to  use  that  power,  so  effective  in  this 
country,  of  letting  in  light  on  subjects,  and  holding  them  up 
to  the  verdict  of  public  opinion.  If  it  could  be  published 
annually  from  this  Capitol,  through  every  school  district  of  the 
United  States,  that  there  are  States  in  the  Union  that  have  no 
system  of  common  schools,  —  and  if  their  records  could  be 
placed  beside  the  records  of  such  States  as  Massachusetts,  New 
York,  Pennsylvania,  Ohio,  and  other  States  that  have  a  com- 
mon-school system, — the  mere  statement  of   the   fact  would 


rouse  their  energies,  and  compel  them  for  shame  to  educate 
their  children.  It  would  shame  all  the  delinquent  States  out  of 
their  delinquency. 

Mr.  Speaker,  if  I  were  called  upon  to-day  to  point  to  that  in 
my  own  State  of  which  I  am  most  proud,  I  would  not  point  to 
any  of  the  flaming  lines  of  her  military  record,  to  the  heroic 
men  and  the  brilliant  officers  she  gave  to  this  contest ;  I  would 
not  point  to  any  of  her  leading  men  of  the  past  or  the  present : 
but  I  would  point  to  her  common  schools;  I  would  point  to  the 
honorable  fact,  that  in  the  great  struggle  of  five  years,  through 
which  we  have  just  passed,  she  has  expended  $12,000,000  for 
the  support  of  her  public  schools.  I  do  not  include  in  that 
amount  the  sums  expended  upon  our  higher  institutions  of  learn- 
ing. I  would  point  to  the  fact,  that  fifty-two  per  cent  of  the 
taxation  of  Ohio  for  the  last  five  years,  aside  from  the  war-tax 
and  the  tax  for  the  payment  of  her  public  debt,  has  been  for 
the  support  of  her  schools.  I  would  point  to  the  schools  of 
Cincinnati,  Cleveland,  Toledo,  and  other  cities  of  the  State,  if  I 
desired  a  stranger  to  see  the  glory  of  Ohio.  I  would  point  to 
the  13,000  schoolhouses  and  the  700,000  pupils  in  the  schools  of 
Ohio.  I  would  point  to  the  $3,000,000  she  has  paid  for  schools 
during  the  last  year  alone.  This,  in  my  judgment,  is  the  proper 
gauge  by  which  to  measure  the  progress  and  glory  of  States. 

Gentlemen  tell  us  there  is  no  need  of  this  bill ;  the  States  are 
doing  well  enough  now.  Do  they  know  through  what  a  strug- 
gle every  State  has  come  up  that  has  secured  a  good  system 
of  common  schools?     Let  me  illustrate  this  by  one  example. 

Notwithstanding  the  early  declaration  of  William  Penn,  •*That 
which  makes  a  good  constitution  must  keep  it,  namely,  men  of 
wisdom  and  virtue,  —  qualities  that,  because  they  descend  not 
with  worldly  inheritance,  must  be  carefully  propagated  by  a  vir- 
tuous education  of  youth,  for  which  spare  no  cost,  for  by  such 
parsimony  all  that  is  saved  is  lost " ;  notwithstanding  that  wise 
master-builder  incorporated  this  sentiment  in  his  "framework  of 
government,"  and  made  it  the  duty  of  the  Governor  and  Council 
"to  establish  and  support  public  schools";  notwithstanding 
Benjamin  Franklin,  from  the  first  hour  he  became  a  citizen  of 
Pennsylvania,  inculcated  the  value  of  useful  knowledge  to  every 
human  being  in  every  walk  of  life,  and  by  his  personal  and  pe- 
cuniary effort  did  establish  schools  and  a  college  for  Philadel- 
phia; notwithstanding  the  Constitution  of  Pennsylvania  made  it 

1 34       THE  NA  TIONAL  B  UREA  U  OF  ED  UCA  TION. 

obligatory  upon  the  legislature  to  foster  the  education  of  the 
citizens:  notwithstanding  all  this,  it  was  not  till  1833-34  that  a 
system  of  common  schools,  supported  in  part  by  taxation  of  the 
property  of  the  State,  for  the  common  benefit  of  all  the  chil- 
dren of  the  State,  was  established  by  law ;  and  although  the  law 
was  passed  by  an  almost  unanimous  vote  of  both  branches  of 
the  legislature,  so  foreign  was  the  idea  of  public  schools  to  the 
habits  of  the  people,  so  odious  was  the  idea  of  taxation  for  this 
purpose,  that  even  the  poor  who  were  to  be  specially  benefited 
were  so  deluded  by  political  demagogues  as  to  clamor  for  its 
repeal.  Many  members  who  voted  for  the  law  lost  their  nom- 
inations; and  others,  although  nominated,  lost  their  elections. 
Some  were  weak  enough  to  pledge  themselves  to  a  repeal  of  the 
law;  and  in  the  session  of  1835  there  was  an  almost  certain 
prospect  of  its  repeal,  and  the  adoption  in  its  place  of  an 
odious  and  limited  provision  for  educating  the  children  of  the 
poor  by  themselves.  In  the  darkest  hour  of  the  debate,  when 
the  hearts  of  the  original  friends  of  the  system  were  failing 
from  fear,  there  rose  on  the  floor  of  the  House  one  of  its  early 
champions ;  one  who,  though  not  a  native  of  the  State,  felt  like 
a  knife  in  his  bosom  the  disgrace  which  the  repeal  of  this  law 
would  inflict;  one  who,  though  no  kith  or  kin  of  his  would  be 
benefited  by  the  operations  of  the  system,  and  who,  though  he 
would  share  its  burdens,  would  only  partake  with  every  citizen 
in  its  blessings;  one  who  voted  for  the  original  law  although 
introduced  by  his  political  opponents,  and  who  had  defended 
and  gloried  in  his  vote  before  an  angry  and  unwilling  constit- 
uency: this  man,  then  in  the  beginning  of  his  public  career, 
threw  himself  into  the  conflict,  and  by  his  earnest  and  brave 
eloquence  saved  the  law,  and  gave  a  noble  system  of  common 
schools  to  Pennsylvania.  I  doubt  if  at  this  hour,  after  the 
thirty  years  crowded  full  of  successful  labors  at  the  bar,  before 
the  people,  and  in  halls  of  legislation,  the  venerable  and  dis- 
tinguished member,  who  now  represents  a  portion  of  the  same 
State  in  this  House,^  can  recall  any  other  speech  of  his  life 
with  half  the  pleasure  he  does  that  one ;  for  no  measure  with 
which  his  name  has  been  connected  is  so  fraught  with  bless- 
ings to  hundreds  of  thousands  of  children,  and  to  homes  in- 
numerable. I  hold  in  my  hand  a  copy  of  his  brave  speech, 
and  I  ask  the  clerk  to  read  the  passages  that  I  have  marked. 

*  Mr.  Stevens. 

THE  NA  TIONAL  B  UREA  U  OF  ED  UCA  TION,       1 3  5 

"  I  am  comparatively  a  stranger  among  you,  bom  in  another,  in  a  dis- 
tant State  :  no  parent  or  kindred  of  mine  did,  does,  or  probably  ever  will 
dwell  within  your  borders.  I  have  none  of  those  strong  cords  to  bind 
me  to  your  honor  and  your  interest ;  yet,  if  there  is  any  one  thing  on 
earth  which  I  ardently  desire  above  all  others,  it  is  to  see  Pennsylvania 
standing  up  in  her  intellectual,  as  she  confessedly  does  in  her  physical 
resources,  high  above  all  her  confederate  rivals.  How  shameful,  then, 
would  it  be  for  these  her  native  sons  to  feel  less  so,  when  the  dust  of  their 
ancestors  is  mingled  with  her  soil,  their  friends  and  relatives  enjoy  her 
present  prosperity,  and  their  descendants,  for  long  ages  to  come,  will  par- 
take of  her  happiness  or  misery,  her  glory  or  her  infamy  !  .  .  .  . 

"  In  giving  this  law  to  posterity  you  act  the  part  of  the  philanthropist, 
by  bestowing  upon  the  poor,  as  well  as  the  rich,  the  greatest  earthly  boon 
which  they  are  capable  of  receiving ;  you  act  the  part  of  the  philosopher, 
by  pointing,  if  you  do  not  lead  them,  up  the  hill  of  science  ;  you  act  the 
part  of  the  hero,  if  it  be  true,  as  you  say,  that  popular  vengeance  follows 
dose  upon  your  footsteps.  Here,  then,  if  you  wish  true  popularity,  is  a 
theatre  on  which  you  may  acquire  it 

"  Let  all,  therefore,  who  would  sustain  the  character  of  the  philosopher 
or  philanthropist,  sustain  this  law.  Those  who  would  add  thereto  the 
glory  of  the  hero  can  acquire  it  here ;  for,  in  the  present  state  of  feeling 
in  Pennsylvania,  I  am  willing  to  admit  that  but  littie  less  dangerous  to 
the  public  man  is  the  war-club  and  battle-axe  of  savage  ignorance  than 
to  the  lion-hearted  Richard  was  the  keen  cimeter  of  the  Saracen.  He 
who  would  oppose  it,  either  through  inability  to  comprehend  the  advan- 
tages of  general  education,  or  from  unwillingness  to  bestow  them  on  all 
his  fellow-citizens,  even  to  the  lowest  and  the  poorest,  or  from  dread  of 
popular  vengeance,  seems  to  me  to  want  either  the  head  of  the  philoso- 
pher, the  heart  of  the  philanthropist,  or  the  nerve  of  the  hero." 

He  has  lived  long  enough  to  see  this  law,  which  he  helped  to 
found  in  1834,  and  more  than  any  other  man  was  instrumental 
in  saving  from  repeal  in  1835,  expanded  and  consolidated  into 
a  noble  system  of  public  instruction.  Twelve  thousand  schools 
have  been  built  by  the  voluntary  taxation  of  the  people,  at  a 
cost,  for  schoolhouses  alone,  of  nearly  $10,000,000.  Many  mil- 
lions of  children  have  been  educated  in  these  schools.  More 
than  seven  hundred  thousand  attended  the  public  schools  of 
Pennsylvania  in  1864-65;  and  their  annual  cost,  provided  by 
voluntary  taxation  in  the  year  1864,  was  nearly  $3,000,000, 
giving  employment  to  sixteen  thousand  teachers.  It  is  glory 
enough  for  one  man  to  have  connected  his  name  so  honorably 
with  the  original  establishment  and  effective  defence  of  such  a 

1 36      THE  NA  TIONAL  B  UREA  U  OF  ED  UCA  TION. 

But  it  is  said  that  the  thirst  for  knowledge  among  the  young, 
and  the  pride  and  ambition  of  parents  for  their  children,  are 
agencies  powerful  enough  to  establish  and  maintain  thorough 
and  comprehensive  systems  of  education.  This  suggestion  is 
answered  by  the  unanimous  voice  of  publicists  and  political 
economists.  They  all  admit  that  the  doctrine  of  "  demand  and 
supply  '*  does  not  apply  to  educational  wants.  Even  the  most 
extreme  advocates  of  the  principle  of  laissez  faire,  as  a  sound 
maxim  of  political  philosophy,  admit  that  governments  must 
interfere  in  aid  of  education.  We  must  not  wait  for  the  wants 
of  the  rising  generation  to  be  expressed  in  a  demand  for  means 
of  education.  We  must  ourselves  discover  or  supply  their  needs 
before  the  time  for  supplying  them  has  forever  passed.  John 
Stuart  Mill  says:  — 

"  But  there  are  other  things,  of  the  worth  of  which  the  demand  of  the 
market  is  by  no  means  a  test ;  things  of  which  the  utility  does  not  consist 
in  ministering  to  inclinations,  nor  in  serving  the  daily  uses  of  life,  and 
the  want  of  which  is  least  felt  where  the  need  is  greatest.  This  is  pecu- 
liarly true  of  those  things  which  are  chiefly  useful  as  tending  to  raise  the 
character  of  human  beings.  The  uncultivated  cannot  be  competent 
judges  of  cultivation. 

"  Those  who  most  need  to  be  made  wiser  and  better  usually  desire  it 
least,  and,  if  they  desired  it,  would  be  incapable  of  finding  the  way  to  it 
by  their  own  lights.  It  will  continually  happen,  on  the  voluntary  system, 
that,  the  end  not  being  desired,  the  means  will  not  be  provided  at  all,  or 
that,  the  persons  requiring  improvement  having  an  imperfect  or  alto- 
gether erroneous  conception  of  what  they  want,  the  supply  called  forth 
by  the  demand  of  the  market  will  be  anything  but  what  is  really  required. 
Now,  any  well-intentioned  and  tolerably  civilized  government  may  tliink, 
without  presumption,  that  it  does,  or  ought  to,  possess  a  degree  of  culti- 
vation above  the  average  of  the  community  which  it  rules,  and  that  it 
should  therefore  be  capable  of  offering  better  education  and  better  in- 
struction to  the  people  than  the  greater  number  of  them  would  sponta- 
neously select. 

*'  Education,  therefore,  is  one  of  those  things  which  it  is  admissible  in 
principle  that  a  government  should  provide  for  the  people.  The  case  is 
one  to  which  the  reasons  of  the  non-interference  principle  do  not  neces- 
sarily or  universally  extend. 

"  With  regard  to  elementary  education,  the  exception  to  ordinary  niles 
may,  I  conceive,  justifiably  be  carried  still  further.  There  are  certain 
primary  elements  and  means  of  knowledge  which  it  is  in  the  highest  de- 
gree desirable  that  all  human  beings  bom  into  the  community  should 


acquire  during  childhood.  If  their  parents,  or  those  on  whom  they  de- 
pend, have  the  power  of  obtaining  for  them  this  instruction,  and  fail  to 
do  it,  they  commit  a  double  breach  of  duty,  —  toward  the  children  them- 
selves, and  toward  the  members  of  the  community  generally,  who  are  all 
liable  to  suffer  seriously  from  the  consequences  of  ignorance  and  want  of 
education  in  their  fellow-citizens.  It  is,  therefore,  an  allowable  exercise 
of  the  powers  of  a  government  to  impose  on  parents  the  legal  obligation 
of  giving  elementary  instruction  to  children.  This,  however,  cannot 
fairly  be  done  without  taking  measures  to  insure  that  such  instruction 
shall  be  always  accessible  to  them,  either  gratuitously  or  at  a  trifling 
expense."  * 

This  is  the  testimony  of  economic  science.  I  trust  the  states- 
men of  this  Congress  will  not  think  the  subject  of  education  too 
humble  a  theme  for  their  most  serious  consideration.  It  has  en- 
gaged the  earnest  attention  of  the  best  men  of  ancient  and  mod- 
ern times,  especially  of  modern  statesmen  and  philanthropists. 

I  shall  fortify  the  positions  that  I  have  taken  by  quoting  the 
authority  of  a  few  men  who  are  justly  regarded  as  teachers 
of  the  human  race.  If  I  keep  in  their  company,  I  cannot  wan- 
der far  from  the  truth.  I  cannot  greatly  err  while  I  am  guided 
by  their  counsel. 

In  his  eloquent  essay  entitled  "The  Ready  and  Easy  Way 
to  Establish  a  Free  Commonwealth,"  John  Milton  said:  **To 
make  the  people  fittest  to  choose,  and  the  chosen  fittest  to  gov- 
ern, will  be  to  mend  our  corrupt  and  faulty  education,  to  teach 
the  people  faith,  not  without  virtue,  temperance,  modesty,  so- 
briety, economy,  justice;  not  to  admire  wealth  or  honor;  to 
hate  turbulence  and  ambition ;  to  place  every  one  his  private 
welfare  and  happiness  in  the  public  peace,  liberty  and  safety."  ^ 

England's  most  venerable  living  statesman.  Lord  Brougham, 
enforced  the  same  truth  in  these  noble  words :  — 

**  Lawgivers  of  England  !  I  charge  ye  have  a  care  !  Be  well  assured 
that  the  contempt  lavished  for  centuries  upon  the  cabals  of  Constantino- 
ple, where  the  council  disputed  on  a  text  while  the  enemy,  the  derider  of 
all  their  texts,  was  thundering  at  the  gate,  will  be  as  a  token  of  respect 
compared  with  the  loud  shout  of  universal  scorn  which  all  mankind  in 
all  ages  will  send  up  against  you  if  you  stand  still  and  suffer  a  far  dead- 
lier foe  than  the  Turcoman,  —  suffer  the  parent  of  all  evil,  all  falsehood, 
all  hypocrisy,  all  discharity,  all  self-seeking,  —  him  who  covers  over  with 

^  Political  Economy,  Book  V.  Chap.  XI.  Sec.  8  (Boston,  1848). 

2  Prose  Works  of  John  Milton,  Vol.  II.  p.  183  (Philadelphia,  1851). 


pretexts  of  conscience  the  pitfalls  that  he  digs  for  the  souls  on  which  he 
preys,  —  to  stalk  about  the  fold,  and  lay  waste  its  inmates,  —  stand  still 
and  make  no  head  against  him,  upon  the  vain  pretext,  to  soothe  your  in- 
dolence, that  your  action  is  obstructed  by  religious  cabals,  —  upon  the 
far  more  guilty  speculation  that  by  playing  a  party  game,  you  can  turn 
the  hatred  of  conflicting  professors  to  your  selfish  purposes  1 "  ^ 

"  Let  the  soldier  be  abroad  if  he  will ;  he  can  do  nothing  in  this  age. 
There  is  another  personage  abroad,  a  person  less  imposing,  —  in  the  eye 
of  some,  insignificant.  The  schoolmaster  is  abroad  ;  and  I  trust  to  him, 
armed  with  his  primer,  against  the  soldier  in  full  uniform  array."  ^ 

Lord  Brougham  gloried  in  the  title  of  schoolmaster,  and  con- 
trasted his  work  with  that  of  the  military  conqueror  in  these 
words :  — 

"  The  conqueror  stalks  onward  with  '  the  pride,  pomp,  and  circum- 
stance of  war,'  banners  flying,  shouts  rending  the  air,  guns  thundering, 
and  martial  music  pealing,  to  drown  the  shrieks  of  the  wounded  and  the 
lamentations  for  the  slain.  Not  thus  the  schoolmaster  in  his  peaceful 
vocation.  He  meditates  and  prepares  in  secret  the  plans  which  are  to 
bless  mankind ;  he  slowly  gathers  around  him  those  who  are  to  further 
their  execution ;  he  quietly  though  firmly  advances  in  his  humble  path, 
laboring  steadily  but  calmly,  till  he  has  opened  to  the  light  all  the  recesses 
of  ignorance,  and  torn  up  by  the  roots  the  weeds  of  vice.  His  is  a 
progress  not  to  be  compared  with  anything  like  a  march  ;  but  it  leads  to 
a  far  more  brilliant  triumph,  and  to  laurels  more  imperishable  than  the 
destroyer  of  his  species,  the  scourge  of  the  world,  ever  won."  3 

The  learned  and  brilliant  Guizot,  who  regarded  his  work  in 
the  office  of  Minister  of  Public  Instruction,  in  the  government 
of  France,  the  noblest  and  most  valuable  work  of  his  life,  has 
left  us  this  valuable  testimony :  "  Universal  education  is  hence- 
forth one  of  the  guaranties  of  liberty  and  social  stability.  As 
every  principle  of  our  government  is  founded  on  justice  and 
reason,  to  diffuse  education  among  the  people,  to  develop  their 
understandings  and  enlighten  their  minds,  is  to  strengthen  their 
constitutional  government,  and  secure  its  stability." 

In  his  Farewell  Address,  Washington  wrote  these  words  of 
wise  counsel :  **  Promote  then,  as  an  object  of  primary  impor- 
tance, institutions  for  the  general  diffusion  of  knowledge.  In 
proportion  as  the  structure  of    a  government  gives    force   to 

1  I-«tter  on  "  National  Education,"  to  the  Duke  of  Bedford,  Sept.  6,  1839. 

2  Speech  in  the  House  of  Commons,  January  29, 1828. 
'  Address  at  Liverpool  Mechanics'  Institute,  July,  1835. 


public  opinion,  it  is  essential  that  public  opinion  should  be  en- 

The  elder  Adams  said :  **  The  wisdom  and  generosity  of  the 
legislature,  in  making  liberal  appropriations  in  money  for  the 
benefit  of  schools,  academies,  and  colleges,  is  an  equal  honor 
to  them  and  to  their  constituents,  a  proof  of  their  venera- 
tion for  letters  and  science,  and  a  portent  of  great  and  lasting 
good  to  North  and  South  America  and  to  the  world.  Great  is 
truth,  —  great  is  liberty,  —  great  is  humanity,  —  and  they  must 
and  will  prevail." 

Chancellor  Kent  used  this  decided  language:  "The  parent 
who  sends  his  son  into  the  world  uneducated,  and  without  skill 
in  any  art  or  science,  does  a  great  injury  to  mankind  as  well  as 
to  his  own  family,  for  he  defrauds  the  community  of  a  useful 
citizen,  and  bequeaths  to  it  a  nuisance."  ^ 

I  shall  conclude  the  citation  of  opinions  with  these  stirring 
words  of  Edward  Everett :  — 

"  I  know  not  to  what  else  we  can  better  liken  the  strong  appetence 
of  the  mind  for  improvement,  than  to  a  hunger  and  tliirst  after  knowledge 
and  truth ;  nor  how  we  can  better  describe  the  province  of  education, 
than  to  say  it  does  that  for  the  intellect  which  is  done  for  the  body,  when 
it  receives  the  care  and  nourishment  which  are  necessary  for  its  growth 
and  strength.  From  this  comparison,  I  think  I  derive  new  views  of  the 
importance  of  education.  It  is  now  a  solemn  duty,  a  tender,  sacred 
trust.  What,  sir  !  feed  a  child's  body,  and  let  his  soul  hunger  !  pamper 
his  limbs,  and  starve  his  faculties  !  Plant  the  earth,  cover  a  thousand 
hills  with  your  droves  of  cattle,  pursue  the  fish  to  their  hiding-places  in 
the  sea,  and  spread  out  your  wheat-fields  across  the  plains,  in  order  to 
supply  the  wants  of  that  body  which  will  soon  be  as  cold  and  senseless 
as  their  poorest  clod,  and  let  the  pure  spiritual  essence  within  you,  with 
all  its  glorious  capacities  for  improvement,  languish  and  pine  !  What ! 
build  factories,  tum  in  rivers  upon  the  water-wheels,  unchain  the  impris- 
oned spirits  of  steam,  to  weave  a  garment  for  the  body,  and  let  the  soul 
remain  unadorned  and  naked  !  What !  send  out  your  vessels  to  the 
farthest  ocean,  and  make  battle  with  the  monsters  of  the  deep,  in  order 
to  obtain  the  means  of  lighting  up  your  dwellings  and  workshops,  and 
prolonging  the  hours  of  labor  for  the  meat  that  perisheth,  and  permit 
that  vital  spark  which  God  has  kindled,  which  he  has  intrusted  to  our 
care,  to  be  fanned  into  a  bright  and  heavenly  flame,  —  permit  it,  I  say, 
to  kmguish  and  go  out !  "  ^ 

*  Commentaries,  etc.,  Lecture  XXIX. 

2  Orations  and  Speeches  on  various  Occasions,  Vol.  II.  pp.  277,  278  (Boston, 


It  is  remarkable  that  so  many  good  things  have  been  said, 
and  so  few  things  done,  by  our  national  statesmen,  in  favor  of 
education.  If  we  inquire  what  has  been  done  by  the  govern- 
ments of  other  countries  to  support  and  advance  public  edu- 
cation, we  are  compelled  to  confess  with  shame  that  ever>' 
government  in  Christendom  has  given  a  ♦more  intelligent  and 
effective  support  to  schools  than  has  our  own. 

The  free  cities  of  Germany  organized  the  earliest  school 
systems  after  the  separation  of  Church  and  State.  The  present 
schools  of  Hamburg  have  existed  more  than  one  thousand 
years.  The  earliest  school  codes  were  framed  in  the  duchy 
of  Wiirtemberg  in  1565,  and  in  the  electorate  of  Saxony  in 
1580.  Under  these  codes  were  established  systems  of  schools 
more  perfect,  it  is  claimed,  than  the  school  system  of  any  State 
of  the  American  Union.  Their  systems  embraced  the  gym- 
nasium and  the  university,  and  were  designed,  as  their  laws 
expressed  it,  "  to  carry  youth  from  the  elements  to  the  degree 
of  culture  demanded  for  offices  in  Church  and  State." 

The  educational  institutions  of  Prussia  are  too  well  known  to 
need  a  comment.  It  is  a  sufficient  index  of  their  progress  and 
high  character,  that  a  late  Prussian  school  officer  said  of  his 
official  duties:  '*  I  promised  God  that  I  would  look  upon  every 
Prussian  peasant  child  as  a  being  who  could  complain  of  me 
before  God  if  I  did  not  provide  for  him  the  best  education  as 
a  man  and  a  Christian  which  it  was  possible  for  me  to  provide." 

France  did  not  think  herself  dishonored  by  learning  from  a 
nation  which  she  had  lately  conquered;  and  when,  in  1831,  she 
began  to  provide  more  fully  for  the  education  of  her  people, 
she  sent  the  philosopher  Cousin  to  Holland  and  Prussia  to 
study  and  report  upon  the  schools  of  those  states.  Guizot  was 
made  Minister  of  Public  Instruction,  and  held  the  office  from 
1832  to  1837.  In  1833  the  report  of  Cousin  was  published,  and 
the  educational  system  of  France  was  established  on  the  Prus- 
sian model.  No  portion  of  his  brilliant  career  reflects  more 
honor  upon  Guizot  than  his  five  years'  work  for  the  schools  of 
France.  The  fruits  of  his  labors  were  not  lost  in  the  revolu- 
tions that  followed.  The  present  Emperor  is  giving  his  best 
efforts  to  the  perfection  and  maintenance  of  schools,  and  is 
endeavoring  to  make  the  profession  of  the  teacher  more  hon- 
orable and  desirable  than  it  has  been  hitherto. 

Through  the  courtesy  of  the  Secretary  of  State  I  have  ob- 
tained a  copy  of  the  last  annual  report  of  the  Minister  of  Public 


Instruction  in  France,  which  exhibits  the  present  state  of  edu- 
cation in  that  empire.  At  the  last  enumeration  there  were  in 
France,  in  the  colleges  and  lyceums,  65,832  pupils;  in  the 
secondary  schools,  200,000;  and  in  the  primary,  or  common 
schools,  4,720,234.  Besides  the  large  amount  raised  by  local 
taxation,  the  imperial  government  appropriated,  during  the 
year  1865,  2,349.051  francs  for  the  support  of  primary  schools. 
Teaching  is  one  of  the  regular  professions  in  France ;  and  the 
government  offers  prizes,  and  bestows  honors  upon  the  success- 
ful instructor  of  children.  During  the  year  1865,  1,154  prizes 
were  distributed  to  teachers  in  primary  schools.  An  order  of 
honor,  and  a  medal  worth  two  hundred  and  fifty  francs,  are 
awarded  to  the  best  teacher  in  each  commune.  After  long  and 
faithful  service  in  his  profession,  the  teacher  is  retired  on  half- 
pay,  and,  if  broken  down  in  health,  is  pensioned  for  life.  In 
1865  there  were  4,245  teachers  on  the  pension  list  of  France. 
The  Minister  says  in  his  report,  "The  statesmen  of  France  have 
determined  to  show  that  the  country  knows  how  to  honor  those 
who  serve  her,  even  in  obscurity.**  Since  1862,  10,243  libraries 
for  the  use  of  common  schools  have  been  established ;  and  they 
now  contain  1,117,352  volumes,  more  than  a  third  of  which 
have  been  furnished  by  the  imperial  government.  Half  a  mil- 
lion text-books  are  furnished  for  the  use  of  children  who  are  too 
poor  to  buy  them.  It  is  the  policy  of  France  to  afford  the 
means  of  education  to  every  child  in  the  empire. 

When  we  compare  the  conduct  of  other  governments  with 
our  own,  we  cannot  accuse  ourselves  so  much  of  illiberality  as 
of  reckless  folly  in  the  application  of  our  liberality  to  the 
support  of  schools.  No  government  has  expended  so  much  to 
so  little  purpose.  To  fourteen  States  alone  we  have  given  for 
the  support  of  schools  83,000  square  miles  of  land,  or  an 
amount  of  territory  nearly  equal  to  two  such  States  as  Ohio. 
But  how  has  this  bountiful  appropriation  been  applied?  This 
chapter  in  our  history  has  never  been  written.  No  member  of 
this  House  or  the  Senate,  no  executive  officer  of  the  govern- 
ment, now  knows,  and  no  man  ever  did  know,  what  disposition 
has  been  made  of  this  immense  bounty.  This  bill  requires 
the  Commissioner  of  Education  to  report  to  Congress  what 
lands  have  been  given  to  schools,  and  how  the  proceeds  have 
been  applied.  If  we  arc  not  willing  to  follow  the  example  of 
our  fathers  in  giving,  let  us,  at  least,  have  the  evidence  of  the 
beneficial  results  of  their  liberality. 


Mr.  Speaker,  I  have  thus  hurriedly  and  imperfectly  ex- 
hibited the  magnitude  of  the  interests  involved  in  the  education 
of  American  youth;  the  peculiar  condition  of  affairs  which 
demands  at  this  time  an  increase  of  our  educational  forces ;  the 
failure  of  a  majority  of  the  States  to  establish  school  systems, 
the  long  struggles  through  which  others  have  passed  in  achiev- 
ing success;  and  the  humiliating  contrast  between  the  action 
of  our  government  and  those  of  other  nations  in  reference  to 
education :  but  I  cannot  close  without  referring  to  the  bearing 
of  this  measure  upon  the  peculiar  work  of  this  Congress. 

When  the  history  of  the  Thirty-ninth  Congress  is  written,  it 
will  be  recorded  that  two  great  ideas  inspired  it,  and  made  their 
impress  upon  all  its  efforts;  namely,  to  build  up  free  States 
on  the  ruins  of  slavery,  and  to  extend  to  every  inhabitant  of 
the  United  States  the  rights  and  privileges  of  citizenship.  Be- 
fore the  Divine  Architect  builded  order  out  of  chaos,  he  said, 
"  Let  there  be  light."  Shall  we  commit  the  fatal  mistake  of 
building  up  free  States,  without  first  expelling  the  darkness  in 
which  slavery  had  shrouded  their  people?  Shall  we  enlarge 
the  boundaries  of  citizenship,  and  make  no  provision  to  in- 
crease the  intelligence  of  the  citizen?  I  share  most  fully  in 
the  aspirations  of  this  Congress,  and  give  my  most  cordial 
support  to  its  policy;  but  I  believe  its  work  will  prove  a 
disastrous  failure  unless  it  makes  the  schoolmaster  its  ally, 
and  aids  him  in  preparing  the  children  of  the  United  States  to 
perfect  the  work  now  begun. 

The  stork  is  a  sacred  bird  in  Holland,  and  is  protected  by 
her  laws,  because  it  destroys  those  animals  which  would  under- 
mine the  dikes,  and  let  the  sea  again  overwhelm  the  rich  fields 
of  the  Netherlands.  Shall  this  government  do  nothing  to  fos- 
ter and  strengthen  those  educational  agencies  which  alone  can 
shield  the  coming  generations  from  ignorance  and  vice,  and 
make  it  the  impregnable  bulwark  of  liberty  and  law? 

I  know  that  this  is  not  a  measure  which  is  likely  to  attract 
the  attention  of  those  whose  chief  work  it  is  to  watch  the  politi- 
cal movements  that  affect  the  results  of  nominating  conven- 
tions and  elections.  The  mere  politician  will  see  in  it  nothing 
valuable,  for  the  millions  of  children  to  be  benefited  by  it  can 
give  him  no  votes.  But  I  appeal  to  those  who  care  more  for 
the  future  safety  and  glory  of  this  nation  than  for  any  mere 
temporary  advantage,  to  aid  in  giving  to  education  the  public 
recognition  and  active  support  of  the  Federal  government. 






March  6,  i866i 

The  efforts  made  by  the  government  to  suppress  the  Southern  Rebel- 
lion early  encountered  serious  opposition  in  some  of  the  loyal,  and  even 
in  Northern  States.  The  nature  and  the  extent  of  this  opposition  fills 
lai^e  space  in  the  history  of  the  time.  Sometimes  it  went  as  far  as  the 
charges  made  against  the  petitioners  in  the  cases  argued  by  Mr.  Garfield 
in  this  speech;  but  in  a  far  greater  number  of  instances  the  opposi- 
tion fen  short  of  the  crimes  therein  charged.  Unpatriotic  and  dis- 
loyal practices  became  so  numerous,  were  carried  to  such  an  extent,  so 
weakened  the  government,  and  so  disturbed  the  public  peace,  that  the 
national  authorities  felt  compelled  to  deal  with  their  perpetrators.  In 
that  day  of  excitement,  stress,  and  violence,  the  authorities  sometimes^ 
proceeded  to  extremities.  Commonly  these  extremer  measures  were  taken 
by  the  military  commanders  in  the  several  military  districts.  The  slow- 
going  processes  of  the  civil  courts,  it  was  held,  were  insufficient  to 
punish,  and  so  to  prevent  treason.  Hence  martial  law  sometimes  took 
the  place  of  civil  law,  and  military  commissions  the  place  of  civil  courts. 
The  MilUgan,  Bowles,  and  Horsey  cases  originated  in  an  attempt  to  sup- 
press alleged  treason.  Their  history,  to  the  time  when  they  appeared  in 
the  Supreme  Court  at  Washington,  is  given  by  Mr.  Garfield  in  the  first 
paragraphs  of  his  speech,  and  the  facts  need  not  be  here  recited.  The 
question  of  the  guilt  or  innocence  of  the  petitioners,  Milligan,  Bowles, 
and  Horsey,  was  not  in  issue  before  the  court,  but  solely  the  question 
of  the  legality  of  their  trial  and  condemnation  by  a  military  commission. 
More  specifically  it  was  this  :  Shall  a  writ  of  habeas  corpus  issue,  taking 
the  prisoners  out  of  the  custody  of  the  military  authorities?  The  peti- 
tion of  the  prisoners  was  granted.  This  is  the  order  of  the  court,  as  an- 
nounced by  Chief  Justice  Chase  ;  the  decision  was  given  the  next  term. 

"  I.  That  on  the  facts,  as  stated  in  said  petition  and  exhibits,  a  writ  of 
habeas  corpus  ought  to  be  issued,  according  to  the  prayer  of  said 


"  II.  That  on  the  facts  stated  in  the  said  petition  and  exhibits,  the 
said  Lambdin  P.  Milligan  ought  to  be  discharged  from  custody  as  in  said 
petition  is  prayed,  and  according  to  the  act  of  Congress,  passed  3d 
March,  1863,  entitled,  '  An  Act  relating  to  Habeas  Corpus ^  and  regulating 
Judicial  Proceedings  in  certain  Cases.' 

"III.  That,  on  the  facts  stated  in  said  petition  and  exhibits,  the  mili- 
tary commission  mentioned  therein  had  no  jurisdiction  legally  to  try  and 
sentence  said  Lambdin  P.  Milligan  in  the  manner  and  form  as  in  said 
petition  and  exhibits  are  stated. 

"  And  it  is  therefore  now  here  ordered  and  adjudged  by  this  court,  that 
it  be  so  certified  to  the  said  Circuit  Court.*' 

This  was  Mr.  Garfield's  first  appearance  in  the  Supreme  Court  of  the 
United  States.  He  was  associated  with  Hon.  J.  E.  McDonald,  Hon. 
J.  S.  Black,  and  Hon.  D.  D.  Field.  The  United  States  was  represented 
by  Hon.  James  Speed,  Attorney- General,  Hon.  B.  F.  Buder,  and  Hon. 
Henry  Stanberry. 

Mr.  Garfield's  appearance  in  these  cases  subjected  him  to  severe  crit- 
icism in  Ohio,  and  especially  in  his  own  district.  His  appearance  was 
held,  by  those  thus  criticising,  inconsistent  with  his  political  and  public 
character.  The  criticism  was  sharpened  by  the  popular  feeling  that  the 
prisoners  were  guilty  of  the  crimes  charged.  Replying  at  Warren,  Ohio, 
September  19,  1874,  to  certain  attacks  upon  his  public  character,  Mr. 
Garfield  thus  referred  to  his  connection  with  these  cases  :  — 

"Just  about  that  time  there  had  been  in  Congress  a  very  considerable 
discussion  concerning  the  arbitrary  conduct  of  some  of  our  officers  in 
carrying,  in  civil  communities,  the  military  jurisdiction  and  rule  further 
than  they  were  warranted  by  the  Constitution,  and  I  had  taken  strong 
grounds  in  Congress  against  the  exercise  of  military  power  in  States  not 
in  rebellion.  It  being  generally  known  that  I  had  resisted  what  some  of 
the  more  extreme  of  our  own  party  thought  the  military  authorities  might 
safely  do,  I  was  asked  if  I  would  be  willing  to  argue  the  case  of  Bowles 
and  Milligan  before  the  Supreme  Court.  I  answered,  *  If  the  case  turns 
on  the  justice  of  those  men  being  punished,  I  will  not  defend  them  in 
any  way  whatever,  for  I  believe  they  deserve  the  severest  punishment ; 
but  if  it  turns  on  the  question  as  to  who  has  the  power  to  try  those 
men,  I  will.  I  believe  that  there  is  no  authority  under  the  Constitu- 
tion and  laws  of  the  United  States  to  take  a  citizen  of  Indiana  not  a 
soldier  and  import  a  military  tribunal  to  his  home  to  try  him  and  pun- 
ish him.'  So  important  did  I  regard  this  principle  to  the  future  of  this 
country  in  that  exciting  time,  that,  with  my  eyes  open  to  the  fact  that  I 
took  a  ver)'  great  political  risk  in  defending,  not  Bowles  and  Milligan,  but 
the  right  of  every  citizen  in  a  civil  community  where  war  is  not  raging  to 
be  tried  by  the  courts  of  the  country  and  before  juries  of  his  own  land, 
and  not  to  be  dragged  away  outside  of  his  owti  doors  to  be  tried  by  a 


military  organization  brought  from  a  distance,  I  made  the  argument  now 
complained  of-  I  believed  that,  having  put  down  the  Rebellion,  having 
saved  civil  liberty  in  this  country  against  cruel  invasion,  we  ought  also  to 
save  it  from  our  own  recklessness. 

"  I  happen  to  have  with  me  a  copy  of  the  argument  that  I  made  before 
the  Supreme  Court  in  the  year  1866;  and  I  desire  to  say  that  I  felt, 
when  I  made  that  argument,  that  I  was  doing  as  worthy  a  thing  as 
I  had  ever  done,  and  I  look  back  upon  it  to-night  with  as  much  sin- 
cere pride  and  satisfaction  as  upon  any  act  of  my  public  life.  I 
ought  to  add,  that  I  have  never  even  seen  Bowles  or  Milligan.  I  knew 
that  they  were  poor,  and  probably  could  not  pay  for  their  defence.  I 
was  never  promised  and  never  received  any  compensation  for  it.  I  paid 
the  expense  of  printing  my  own  brief  and  argument.  I  never  received 
any  compensation  for  it;  I  did  it  in  defence  of  what  I  believe  to 
be  a  most  vital  and  important  principle,  not  only  to  the  Republican 
party,  but  to  the  nation ;  namely,  that  in  no  part  of  our  civil  commu- 
nity must  the  military  be  exalted  above  the  civil  authority,  and  that 
those  men,  however  unworthy,  however  guilty,  and  however  disloyal  to 
their  country,  should  not  be  tried  by  any  but  a  lawful,  civil  tribunal. 
Congress  had  provided  laws  for  trying  every  crime  that  those  men  were 
charged  with,  and  for  trying  it  by  a  civil  court.  Now,  I  believe  that  all 
over  this  land  one  of  the  great  landmarks  of  civilization  and  civil  liberty 
is  the  self-restraining  power  of  the  American  people,  curbing  themselves 
and  governing  themselves  by  the  limit  of  the  civil  law.  I  remind  you  of 
the  fact  that  the  Supreme  Court  unanimously  sustained  the  position  I 
took  in  that  argument.  There  were  some  differences  as  to  the  reasoning 
by  which  the  court  reached  the  result ;  but  the  ruling  of  the  court  was 
unanimous,  that  the  trial  had  been  unauthorized  by  law,  and  that  the  men 
must  therefore  be  released.  That  did  not  release  them,  however,  from 
the  right  of  the  government  to  try  them  in  the  civil  courts  for  the  crimes 
with  which  they  were  charged.  A  note  that  was  handed  to  me  at  the 
door  called  upon  me  to  explain  how  it  was  that  I,  a  Republican  and  a 
Representative,  gave  my  voice  and  whatever  ability  I  possessed  as  a 
lawyer  to  save  Rebel  conspirators  from  punishment.  My  answer  was, 
*  Hang  them  if  guilty,  but  hang  them  according  to  law ;  if  you  hang 
them  otherwise,  you  commit  murder.'  " 

**  Nullus  liber  homo  capiatur,  vcl  imprisonctur,  aut  dissaisiatur,  aut  utlagetur,  aut  exulctur, 
aut  aliquo  modo  dcstruatur,  nee  super  eum  ibimus,  nee  super  eum  mittemus,  nisi  per  legale 
judicium  parium  suorum,  vel  per  legem  terra;."  —  Magna  Carta^  Cap.  XXXIX. 

MAY   IT  PLEASE  THE  CoURT,  —  In  the  months  of  Septem- 
ber and  October,   1864,  Lambdin  P.  Milligan,  William 

A.  Bowles,  and  Stephen   Horsey,  natives  of  the  United  States 
VOL  I.  10 


and  citizens  of  the  State  of  Indiana,  were  arrested  by  order  of 
Alvin  P.  Hovey,  Major-General  commanding  the  military  dis- 
trict of  Indiana,  and  on  the  2ist  of  the  latter  month  were 
placed  on  trial  before  a  military  commission  convened  at  Indi- 
anapolis, by  order  of  General  Hovey,  on  the  following  charges, 
preferred  by  Major  Henry  L.  Burnett,  Judge  Advocate  of  the 
Northwestern  Military  Department,  viz. :  — 

1.  "Conspiracy  against  the  government  of  the  United  States." 

2.  "  Affording  aid  and  comfort  to  rebels  against  the  govern- 
ment of  the  United  States." 

3.  "  Inciting  insurrection." 

4.  **  Disloyal  practices." 

5.  "Violations  of  the  laws  of  war." 

The  Commission,  overruling  the  objection  of  the  accused 
against  its  authority  to  try  them,  proceeded  with  the  trial,  pro- 
nounced them  guilty,  and  sentenced  them  to  death  by  hanging. 
The  sentence  was  approved  on  the  2d  of  May,  1865  ;  but  before 
the  day  fixed  for  its  execution,  the  President  of  the  United 
States  commuted  it  to  imprisonment  for  life,  and  the  prisoners 
are  now  confined  in  the  penitentiary  of  Ohio. 

On  the  loth  of  the  same  month,  they  filed  their  petition  in 
the  Circuit  Court  of  the  United  States  for  the  District  of  In- 
diana, setting  forth  the  above  facts,  and  also  declaring,  that, 
while  the  petitioners  were  held  in  military  custody,  and  more 
than  twenty  days  after  their  arrest,  a  grand  jury  of  the  Circuit 
Court  of  the  United  States  for  the  District  of  Indiana  was  con- 
vened at  Indianapolis,  the  petitioners'  place  of  confinement,  and, 
being  duly  impanelled,  charged,  and  sworn  for  said  district, 
held  its  sittings,  and  finally  adjourned,  without  having  found 
any  bill  of  indictment,  or  made  any  presentment  whatever 
against  them;  that  at  no  time  had  they  been  in  the  military 
service  of  the  United  States,  or  in  any  way  connected  with  the 
land  or  naval  force,  or  the  militia  in  actual  service;  that  they 
had  not  been  within  the  limits  of  any  State  whose  citizens  were 
engaged  in  rebellion  against  the  United  States,  at  any  time 
during  the  war,  but  during  all  the  time  aforesaid,  and  for  twenty 
years  last  past,  had  been  inhabitants,  residents,  and  citizens  of 
Indiana.  The  petitioners*  claim  to  be  discharged  from  mili- 
tary custody  was  founded  upon  the  provisions  of  an  act  of  Con- 
gress of  March  3,  1863,  entitled  "An  Act  relative  to  Habeas 
Corpus,  and  regulating  Judicial  Proceedings  in  certain  Cases." 


On  hearing  the  petition,  the  opinions  of  the  judges  of  the  Cir- 
cuit Court  were  opposed,  and  they  have  certified  to  this  court 
for  its  decisioii  the  following  questions,  viz. :  — 

1.  On  the  facts  stated  in  the  petition  and  exhibits,  ought  a 
writ  of  habeas  corpus  to  be  issued,  according  to  the  prayer  of 
said  petitioners? 

2.  On  the  facts  stated  in  the  petition  and  exhibits,  ought  the 
petitioners  to  be  discharged  from  custody,  as  in  said  petition 
prayed  ? 

3.  Whether,  upon  the  facts  stated  in  said  petition  and  exhib- 
its, the  military  Commission  mentioned  therein  had  jurisdiction 
legally  to  try  and  sentence  said  petitioners  in  manner  and  form 
as  in  said  petition  and  exhibits  is  stated. 

These  preliminary  proceedings  have  been  so  fully  stated  and 
examined  by  the  gentleman  who  opened  the  cause,^  that  I  need 
not  dwell  upon  them  further. 

I  desire  to  say,  in  the  outset,  that  the  questions  now  before 
this  court  have  relation  only  to  constitutional  law,  and  involve 
neither  the  guilt  or  the  innocence  of  the  relators,  nor  the  mo- 
tives and  patriotism  of  the  officers  who  tried  and  sentenced 
them.  I  trust  I  need  not  say  in  this  presence,  that  in  my  esti- 
mation nothing  in  the  calendar  of  infamy  can  be  more  abhor- 
rent than  the  crimes  with  which  the  relators  were  charged; 
nothing  that  more  fully  deserves  the  swift  vengeance  of  the 
law,  and  the  execration  of  mankind.  But  the  questions  before 
your  Honors  are  not  personal.  They  reach  those  deep  foun- 
dations of  law  on  which  the  republic  is  built;  and  in  their 
proper  settlement  are  involved  the  highest  interests  of  every 

Had  the  military  Commission  jurisdiction  legally  to  try  and 
sentence  the  petitioners?  Upon  the  determination  of  this  ques- 
tion the  whole  cause  rests.  If  the  Commission  had  such  juris- 
diction, the  petitioners  are  legally  imprisoned,  and  should  not 
be  discharged  from  custody ;  nor  should  a  writ  of  habeas  corpus 
be  issued  in  answer  to  their  prayer.  If  the  military  Commis- 
sion had  not  jurisdiction,  the  trial  was  void,  the  sentence  illegal, 
•and  should  not  be  further  executed. 

As  a  first  step  toward  reaching  an  answer  to  this  question, 
I  affirm  that  every  citizen  of  the  United  States  is  under  the 
dominion  of  law ;  that,  whether  he  be  a  civilian,  a  soldier,  or  a 

1   Hon.  J.  E.  McDonald. 


sailor,  the  Constitution  provides  for  him  a  tribunal  before  which 
he  may  be  protected  if  innocent,  and  punished  if  guilty  of 
crime.  In  the  fifth  article  of  the  Amendments  td  the  Constitu- 
tion it  is  declared  that — 

"  No  person  shall  be  held  to  answer  for  a  capital  or  otherwise  infa- 
mous crime,  unless  on  a  presentment  or  indictment  of  a  grand  jury, 
except  in  cases  arising  in  the  land  or  naval  forces,  or  in  the  militia  when 
in  actual  service  in  time  of  war  or  public  danger ;  nor  shall  any  person 
be  subject  for  the  same  offence  to  be  twice  put  in  jeopardy  of  life  or 
limb;  nor  shall  be  compelled,  in  any  criminal  case,  to  be  a  witness 
against  himself;  nor  be  deprived  of  life,  liberty,  or  property  without  due 
process  of  law ;  nor  shall  private  property  be  taken  for  public  use  with- 
out just  compensation." 

This  sweeping  provision  covers  every  person  under  the  juris- 
diction of  the  Constitution.  To  the  general  rule  of  presentment 
or  indictment  of  a  grand  jury,  there  are  three  exceptions: 
first,  cases  arising  in  the  land  forces ;  second,  cases  arising  in 
the  naval  forces ;  third,  cases  arising  in  the  militia  when  in 
actual  service  in  time  of  war  or  public  danger.  All  these 
classes  are  covered  by  express  provisions  of  the  Constitution. 
In  whatever  one  of  these  situations  an  American  citizen  may 
be  placed,  his  rights  are  clearly  defined,  and  a  remedy  is 
provided  against  oppression  and  injustice.  The  Constitution 
establishes  the  Supreme  Court,  and  empowers  Congress  to  con- 
stitute tribunals  inferior  to  that  court;  **to  make  rules  for  the 
government  and  regulation  of  the  land  and  naval  forces,"  and 
to  provide  for  governing  such  part  of  the  militia  as  may  be 
employed  in  the  service  of  the  United  States.  No  other  tri- 
bunal is  authorized  or  recognized  by  the  Constitution.  No 
other  is  established  by  the  laws  of  Congress.  For  all  cases 
not  arising  in  the  land  or  naval  forces.  Congress  has  amply 
provided  in  the  Judiciary  Act  of  September  24,  1789,  and  the 
acts  amendatory  thereof.  For  all  cases  arising  in  the  naval 
forces,  it  has  fully  provided  in  the  act  of  March  2,  1799,  **for 
the  Government  of  the  Navy  of  the  United  States,"  and  in  sim- 
ilar subsequent  acts. 

But  since  the  opposing  counsel  do  not  claim  to  find  authority 
for  the  tribunal  before  which  the  petitioners  were  tried  in  cither 
of  these  categories,  I  shall  proceed  to  examine,  somewhat  mi- 
nutely, the  limits  and  boundaries  of  the  military  department ; 
the  character  of  its  tribunals ;  the  classes  of  persons  who  come 


within  its  jurisdiction;    and  the  defences  which   the   law  has 
thrown  around  them. 

We  are  apt  to  regard  the  military  department  of  the  govern- 
ment as  an  organized  despotism,  in  which  all  personal  rights 
are  merged  in  the  will  of  the  commander-in-chief.  But  that 
department  has  definitely  marked  boundaries,  and  all  its  mem- 
bers are  not  only  controlled,  but  also  sacredly  protected,  by 
definitely  prescribed  law.  The  first  law  of  the  Revolutionary 
Congfress  touching  the  organization  of  the  army,  passed  Sep- 
tember 20,  1776,  provided  that  no  officer  or  soldier  should  be 
kept  in  arrest  more  than  eight  days  without  being  furnished 
with  the  written  charges  and  specifications  against  him ;  that  he 
should  be  tried,  at  as  early  a  day  as  possible,  by  a  regular  mili- 
tary court,  whose  proceedings  were  regulated  by  law,  and  that  no 
sentence  should  be  carried  into  execution  until  the  full  record  of 
the  trial  had  been  submitted  to  Congress  or  to  the  commander- 
in-chief,  and  his  or  their  direction  be  signified  thereon.  From 
year  to  year  Congress  has  added  new  safeguards  to  protect  the 
rights  of  our  soldiers,  and  the  Rules  and  Articles  of  War  are  as 
really  a  part  of  the  laws  of  the  land  as  the  Judiciary  Act  or  the 
act  establishing  the  Treasury  Department.  If  the  humblest  pri- 
vate soldier  in  the  army  be  wronged  by  his  commanding  officer, 
he  may  demand  redress  by  sending  the  statement  of  his  griev- 
ance step  by  step  through  the  appointed  channels,  till  it  reaches 
the  President  or  Congress,  if  justice  be  not  done  him  sooner. 

The  main  boundary  line  between  the  civil  and  military  juris- 
dictions is  the  muster  into  service.  Before  that  act  the  citi- 
zen is  subject  to  the  jurisdiction  of  the  civil  courts ;  after  it, 
until  his  muster  out,  he  is  subject  to  the  military  jurisdiction  in 
all  matters  of  military  duty.  This  line  has  been  carefully  sur- 
veyed by  the  courts,  and  fixed  as  the  lawful  boundary.  They 
do  not  regard  a  citizen  as  coming  under  the  jurisdiction  of  a 
Federal  court-martial,  even  when  he  has  been  ordered  into  the 
military  service  by  the  Governor  of  his  State,  on  requisition  of 
the  President,  until  he  reaches  the  place  of  general  rendezvous, 
and  has  been  actually  mustered  into  the  service  of  the  United 
States.  On  this  point  I  cite  the  case  of  Mills  v,  Martin.^  In 
that  case,  a  militiaman,  called  out  by  the  Governor  of  the  State 
of  New  York,  and  ordered  by  him  to  enter  the  service  of  the 
United  States,  on  a  requisition  of  the  President  for  troops,  re- 

1  19  Johnson's  N.  Y.  Reports,  6. 


fused  to  obey  the  summons,  and  was  tried  by  a  Federal  court- 
martial  for  disobedience  of  orders.  The  Supreme  Court  of  the 
State  of  New  York  decided  that,  until  he  had  gone  to  the  place 
of  general  rendezvous,  and  had  been  regularly  enrolled,  and 
mustered  into  the  national  militia,  he  was  not  amenable  to  the 
action  of  a  court-martial  composed  of  officers  of  the  United 
States.  The  judge,  in  giving  his  opinion,  quoted  the  following 
language  of  Mr.  Justice  Washington,  of  the  Supreme  Court  of 
the  United  States,  in  the  case  of  Houston  v,  Moore :  **  From 
this  brief  summary  of  the  laws,  it  would  seem  that  actual  service 
was  considered  by  Congress  as  the  criterion  of  national  militia ; 
and  that  the  service  did  not  commence  until  the  arrival  of  the 
militia  at  the  place  of  rendezvous.  That  is  the  termimis  a  quo 
the  service,  the  pay,  and  subjection  to  the  articles  of  war,  are 
to  commence  and  continue.*'  ^ 

By  the  sixtieth  Article  of  War,  the  military  jurisdiction  is  so 
extended  as  to  cover  those  persons  not  mustered  into  the  ser- 
vice, but  necessarily  connected  with  the  army.  It  provides  that 
"  All  sutlers  and  retainers  to  the  camp,  and  all  persons  whatso- 
ever serving  with  the  armies  of  the  United  States  in  the  field, 
though  not  enlisted  soldiers,  are  to  be  subject  to  orders,  accord- 
ing to  the  Rules  and  Articles  of  War."  ^ 

That  the  question  of  jurisdiction  might  not  be  doubtful,  it 
was  thought  necessary  to  provide  by  law  of  Congress  that  spies 
should  be  subject  to  trial  by  court-martial.  As  the  law  stood 
for  eighty-five  years,  spies  were  described  as  **  persons  not  citi- 
zens of,  or  owning  allegiance  to,  the  United  States,  who  shall  be 
found  lurking,"  etc.  Not  until  after  the  great  Rebellion  began 
was  this  law  so  amended  as  to  allow  the  punishment  by  court- 
martial  of  citizens  of  the  United  States  who  should  be  found 
lurking  about  the  lines  of  our  army  to  betray  it  to  the  enemy ; 
for  until  then,  be  it  said  to  the  honor  of  our  people,  it  had 
never  been  thought  possible  that  any  American  citizen  would 
become  a  spy,  to  aid  the  enemies  of  the  Republic ;  but  in  1 862 
the  law  was  so  amended  that  such  a  citizen,  if  found  lurking 
about  the  lines  of  the  army  as  a  spy,  in  time  of  war,  should  be 
tried  by  a  court-martial  as  though  he  were  a  spy  of  a  foreign 

It  is  evident,  therefore,  that  by  no  loose  and  general  construc- 
tion of  the  law  can  citizens  be  held  amenable  to  military  tribu- 

1  5  Wheat  on,  20.  "  Army  Regulations,  1 861. 


nals,  whose  jurisdiction  extends  only  to  persons  mustered  into 
the  military  service,  and  such  other  classes  of  persons  as  are, 
by  express  provisions  of  law,  made  subject  to  the  rules  and  arti- 
cles of  war. 

But  even  within  their  proper  jurisdiction  military  courts  are, 
in  many  important  particulars,  subordinate  to  the  civil  courts. 
This  is  acknowledged  by  the  leading  authorities  on  this  subject. 
I  read  from  O'Brien's  Military  Law.  After  discussing  the  gen- 
eral relations  between  the  civil  and  military  departments  of  the 
government,  he  says :  — 

"  From  this  admitted  principle,  it  would  seem  a  necessary  consequence 
that  the  Supreme  Court  of  the  United  States  has  an  inherent  power  over 
all  military  tribunals,  of  precisely  the  same  nature  as  that  which  it  asserts 
and  exercises  over  inferior  courts  of  civil  judicature.  Any  mandatory 
or  prohibitory  writ,  therefore,  emanating  from  the  Supreme  Court  of  the 
United  States,  and  addressed  to  a  court-martial,  would  demand  the  most 
unhesitating  obedience  on  the  part  of  the  latter.  Whether,  in  the  ab- 
sence of  a  special  law  to  that  effect,  the  same  obedience  is  due  to  a  writ 
coming  from  a  Circuit  or  District  Court  of  the  Union,  and  directed  to 
a  court-martial  assembled  in  the  district  or  circuit,  does  not  appear  to  be 
so  clear.  A  military  tribunal  would  doubtless  obey  such  a  writ.  As  to 
State  courts,  the  case  is  very  different.  Military  courts  are  entirely  inde- 
pendent of  them.  Their  powers  are  derived  from  a  distinct,  separate,  and 
independent  source.     In  regard  to  the  courts  of  the  United  States,  there 

can  be  no  question Each  individual  member  of  a  court-martial 

is  also  liable  to  the  supreme  courts  of  civil  judicature,  not  only  for  any 
abuse  of  power,  but  for  any  illegal  proceedings  of  the  court,  if  he  has 

voted  for  or  participated  in  the  same 

"  The  authority  of  courts- martial  is  sometimes  extended  by  executive 
governments,  subjecting,  by  proclamation,  certain  districts  or  countries 
to  the  jurisdiction  of  martial  law  during  the  existence  of  a  rebellion. 
But  in  all  such  cases  a  court-martial  ought  to  be  fully  assured  that  the 
warrant  or  order  under  which  they  are  assembled  is  strictly  legal ;  and  that 
the  prisoners  brought  before  them  were  actually  apprehended  in  the  par- 
ticular district  or  country  which  may  have  been  subjected  to  martial  law, 
and  during  the  period  that  the  proclamation  was  actually  in  force.  Any 
error  in  these  particulars  would  render  their  whole  proceedings  illegal."  * 

In  further  vindication  of  my  last  proposition,  I  shall  cite  a 
few  precedents  from  English  and  American  history. 

I.  A  Lieutenant  Fr>'e.  serving  in  the  West  Indies  in  1743  on 
board  the  Oxford,  a  British  man-of-war,  was  ordered  by  his 

*  Pages  222-226  (Philadelphia,  1846). 



superior  officer  to  assist  in  arresting  another  officer  and  bringing 
him  on  board  the  ship  as  a  prisoner.  The  Lieutenant,  doubting 
the  legality  of  the  order,  demanded — what  he  had,  according  to 
the  customs  of  the  naval  service,  a  right  to  demand — a  written 
order  before  he  would  obey  the  command.  For  this  he  was 
put  under  arrest,  tried  by  a  naval  court-martial,  sentenced  to 
fifteen  years'  imprisonment,  and  forever  debarred  from  serving 
the  King.  He  was  sent  to  England  to  be  imprisoned,  but  was 
released  by  order  of  the  Privy  Council.  In  1746  he  brought 
an  action  before  a  civil  court  against  the  president  of  the  court- 
martial,  Sir  Chaloner  Ogle,  and  damages  of  ;^i,ooo  were  awarded 
him  for  his  illegal  detention  and  sentence ;  and  the  learned  judge 
informed  him  that  he  might  also  bring  his  action  against  any 
member  of  the  court-martial.  Rear- Admiral  Mayne  and  Captain 
Rentone,  who  were  members  of  the  court  that  tried  him,  were, 
at  the  time  when  damages  were  awarded  to  Lieutenant  Frye,  sit- 
ting on  a  naval  court-martial  for  the  trial  of  Vice- Admiral  Les- 
tock.  The  Lieutenant  proceeded  against  them,  and  they  were 
arrested  upon  a  writ  from  the  Court  of  Common  Pleas.  The 
order  of  arrest  was  served  upon  them  just  as  the  court-martial 
adjourned,  one  afternoon.  Its  members,  fifteen  in  number,  im- 
mediately reassembled  and  passed  resolutions  declaring  it  a  great 
insult  to  the  dignity  of  the  naval  service  that  any  person,  how- 
ever high  in  civil  authority,  should  order  the  arrest  of  a  naval 
officer  for  any  of  his  official  acts.  The  Lord  Chief  Justice,  Sir 
John  Willes,  immediately  ordered  the  arrest  of  all  the  members 
of  the  court  who  signed  the  resolutions,  and  they  were  arrested. 
They  appealed  to  the  King,  who  was  very  indignant  at  the  ar- 
rest. The  judge,  however,  persevered  in  his  determination  to 
maintain  the  supremacy  of  the  civil  law,  and  after  two  months' 
examination  and  investigation  of  the  cause  all  the  members  of 
the  court-martial  signed  an  humble  and  submissive  letter  of 
apology,  begging  leave  to  withdraw  their  resolutions,  in  order 
to  put  an  end  to  further  proceedings.  When  the  Lord  Chief 
Justice  had  heard  the  letter  read  in  open  court,  he  directed  that  it 
be  recorded  in  the  Remembrance  Office,  **  as  a  memorial  to  the 
present  and  future  ages,  that  whoever  set  themselves  up  in  op- 
position to  the  laws,  or  think  themselves  above  the  law,  will  in 
the  end  find  themselves  mistaken."  ^ 

1  See  Mc Arthur  on  Courts-Martial,  (London,  1806,)  Vol.  1.  pp.  229-232.     See 
also  Ix)ndon  Gazette  for  1745-46,  Library  of  Congress. 


2.  I  beg  leave  to  cite  the  case  of  Wilson  v,  MacKenzie.  This 
court  will  remember  the  remarkable  mutiny,  in  1842,  on  board 
the  brig  Somers,  in  which  a  son  of  the  then  Secretary  of  the 
Treasury  of  the  United  States  was  tried  by  court-martial  for 
mutiny,  and  executed  at  the  yard-arm.  It  was  proved  that  a 
mutiny  of  very  threatening  aspect  had  broken  out,  and  that  the 
lives  of  the  captain  and  his  officers  were  threatened  by  the 
mutineers.  Among  the  persons  arrested  was  the  plaintiff,  Wil- 
son, an  enlisted  sailor,  who,  being  supposed  to  be  in  the  con- 
spiracy, was  knocked  down  by  the  captain,  ironed,  and  held  in 
confinement  for  a  number  of  days.  When  the  cruise  was  ended, 
Wilson  brought  suit  against  the  captain  for  illegal  arrest  and 
imprisonment.  The  cause  was  tried  before  the  Supreme  Court 
of  New  York,  and  his  Honor,  Chief  Justice  Nelson,  delivered 
the  opinion  of  the  court.     He  says :  — 

"  The  material  question  presented  in  this  case  is,  whether  the  com- 
mon law  courts  have  any  jurisdiction  of  personal  wrongs  committed  by  a 
superior  officer  of  the  navy  upon  a  subordinate,  while  at  sea,  and  engaged 
in  the  public  service Actions  of  trespass  for  injuries  to  the  per- 
son have  been  frequently  brought  and  sustained  in  the  common  law 
courts  of  England,  against  naval  as  well  as  military  commanders,  by  their 
subordinates,  for  acts  done  both  at  home  and  abroad,  under  pretence 
and  color  of  naval  and  military  discipline.  (See  Wall  v,  McNamara,  and 
Swinton  v.  Molloy,  stated  in  i  T.  R.  536,  537  ;  also,  Mostyn  v.  Fabrigas, 
Cowp.  161 ;  Warden  v.  Bailey,  4  Taunt.  67  ;  4  Maule  &  Selw.  400,  S.  C.) 
....  There  are  are  also  many  cases  in  the  books  where  actions  have 
been  sustained  against  members  of  courts-martial,  naval  and  military,  who 
have  exceeded  their  authority  in  the  infliction  of  punishment.  (See 
4  Taunt.  70-75,  and  the  cases  there  cited.)  ....  It  was  suggested  on 
the  argument,  by  the  counsel  for  the  defendant,  that,  inasmuch  as  he 
[\Vilson]  was  in  the  service  of  the  United  States  when  the  acts  com- 
plained of  were  done,  the  courts  of  this  State,  as  matter  of  comity  and 

policy,  should  decline  to  take  jurisdiction I  am  of  opinion  that 

the  demurrer  [to  the  suggestion]  is  well  taken,  and  that  the  plaintiff 
[Wilson]  is  entitled  to  judgment.     Ordered  accordingly."  ^ 

3.  As  a  clear  and  exhaustive  statement  of  the  relation  be- 
tween civil  and  military  courts,  I  quote  from  an  opinion  of  this 
court  in  the  case  of  Dynes  v.  Hoover^:  — 

"  With  the  sentences  of  courts- martial  which  have  been  convened 
regularly,  and  have  proceeded  legally,  and  by  which  punishments  are 
directed,  not  forbidden  by  law,  or  which  are  according  to  the  laws  and 

1  7  HiU's  N.  Y.  Supreme  Court  Reports,  97-100.  ^  20  Howard,  82,  Sj. 


customs  of  the  sea,  civil  courts  have  nothing  to  do,  nor  are  they  in  any 
way  alterable  by  them.  If  it  were  otherwise,  the  civil  courts  would  vir- 
tually administer  the  Rules  and  Articles  of  War,  irrespective  of  those  to 
whom  that  duty  and  obligation  has  been  confided  by  the  laws  of  the 
United  States,  from  whose  decisions  no  appeal  or  jurisdiction  of  any  kind 
has  been  given  to  the  civil  magistrate  or  civil  courts.  But  we  repeat,  if 
a  court-martial  has  no  jurisdiction  over  the  subject-matter  of  the  charge  it 
has  been  convened  to  try,  or  shall  inflict  a  punishment  forbidden  by  the 
laWy  though  its  sentence  shall  be  approved  by  the  officers  having  a  re- 
visory power  of  it,  civil  courts  may,  on  an  action  by  a  party  aggrieved  by 
it,  inquire  into  the  want  of  the  court's  jurisdiction,  and  give  him  redress. 
(Harman  v,  Tappenden,  i  East,  555  ;  as  to  ministerial  officers,  Mar- 
shall's Case,  10  Cr.  76 ;  Moravia  v,  Sloper,  Willes,  30 ;  Parton  v,  Wil- 
liams, 3  B.  &  A.  330 ;  and  as  to  justices  of  the  peace,  by  Lord  Tenterden, 
in  Basten  v,  Carew,  3  B.  &  C.  653 ;  Mills  v,  Collett,  6  Bing.  85.) 

"  Such  is  the  law  of  England.  By  the  Mutiny  Acts,  courts-martial 
have  been  created  with  authority  to  try  those  who  are  a  part  of  the  army 
or  navy  for  breaches  of  military  or  naval  duty.  It  has  been  repeatedly 
determined  that  the  sentences  of  those  courts  are  conclusive  in  any  action 
brought  in  the  courts  of  common  law.  But  the  courts  of  common  law 
will  examine  whether  courts-martial  have  exceeded  the  jurisdiction  given 
them,  though  it  is  said,  '  not,  however,  after  the  sentence  has  been  rati- 
fied and  carried  into  execution.'  (Grant  ?'.  Gould,  2  H.  Black.  69  ; 
Ship  Bounty,  i  East,  313  ;  Shalford's  case,  i  East,  313  ;  Mann  v,  Owen, 
9  B.  &  C.  595  ;  In  the  Matter  of  Poe,  5  B.  &  A.  681,  on  a  motion  for  a 

I  hold  it  therefore  established,  that  the  Supreme  Court  of 
the  United  States  may  inquire  into  the  question  of  jurisdiction 
of  a  military  court;  may  take  cognizance  of  extraordinary  pun- 
ishment inflicted  by  such  a  court  not  warranted  by  law,  and 
may  issue  writs  of  prohibition,  or  give  such  other  redress  as 
the  case  may  require.  It  is  also  clear  that  the  Constitution  and 
laws  of  the  United  States  have  carefully  provided  for  the  pro- 
tection of  individual  liberty,  and  the  right  of  accused  persons 
to  a  speedy  trial  before  a  tribunal  established  and  regulated 
by  law. 

The  petitioners  must,  as  I  have  already  shown,  be  placed  in 
one  of  four  categories.  First,  they  were  either  in  the  naval 
service ;  or,  second,  in  the  military  service ;  or,  third,  belonged 
to  the  militia,  and  were  called  out  to  serve  by  order  of  the  Pres- 
ident in  the  national  militia;  or,  fourth,  if  neither  of  these  three, 
nor  so  connected  with  them  as  to  be  placed  by  law  under  the 


naval  or  military  jurisdiction,  then  they  were  simply  civilians, 
and  subject  exclusively  to  the  jurisdiction  of  the  civil  courts. 
It  is  set  forth  in  the  petition,  and  not  denied  by  the  opposing 
counsel,  that  they  were  in  neither  of  the  first  three  classes,  nor 
connected  with  them.  They  must,  therefore,  belong  to  the 
fourth  class,  —  unless  a  fifth  should  be  added,  as  the  learned 
counsel  on  the  other  side  have  suggested,  and  it  be  held  that 
they  were  prisoners  of  war ;  but  of  that  I  shall  speak  hereafter. 
Under  such  circumstances,  it  is  not  surprising  that  the  learned 
counsel  should  go  beyond  the  Constitution,  beyond  the  civil,  the 
naval,  and  even  the  military  law,  to  find  a  basis  on  which  they 
may  rest  the  jurisdiction  of  the  tribunal  before  which  the  peti- 
tioners were  tried.  They  tell  us  frankly  that  they  do  not  find  its 
justification  either  in  the  civil  or  military  laws  of  the  land. 

The  Honorable  Attorney-General  and  his  distinguished  col- 
league* declare  in  their  printed  brief,  that, — 

I.  "  A  military  commission  derives  its  powers  and  authority 
wholly  from  martial  law ;  and  by  that  law  and  by  military  au- 
thority only  are  its  proceedings  to  be  judged  or  reviewed." 

II.  "  Martial  law  is  the  will  of  the  commanding  officer  of  an 
armed  force,  or  of  a  geographical  military  department,  ex- 
pressed in  time  of  war,  within  the  limits  of  his  military  jurisdic- 
tion, as  necessity  demands  and  prudence  dictates,  restrained  or 
enlarged  by  the  orders  of  his  military  chief  or  supreme  ex- 
ecutive ruler,'*  and  "  the  officer  executing  martial  law  is  at  the 
same  time  supreme  legislator,  supreme  judge,  and  supreme 

To  give  any  color  of  plausibility  to  these  novel  propositions, 
they  were  compelled  not  only  to  ignore  the  Constitution,  but  to 
declare  it  suspended,  its  voice  drowned  in  the  thunders  of  war. 
Accordingly,  with  consistent  boldness,  they  declare  that  the 
third,  fourth,  and  fifth  articles  of  Amendments  '*  are  all  peace 
provisions  of  the  Constitution,  and,  like  all  other  conventional 
and  legislative  laws  and  enactments,  are  silent  inter  armUy  when 
salus  populi  suprana  est  lex"  Applying  these  doctrines  to  this 
cause,  they  hold  that  from  the  5  th  of  October,  1864,  to  the 
9th  of  May,  1865,  martial  law  alone  existed  in  Indiana;  that  it 
silenced  not  only  the  civil  courts,  but  all  the  laws  of  the  land, 
and  even  the  Constitution  itself;  and  during  that  silence  the 
executor  of  martial  law  could  lay  his  hand  upon  every  citizen, 

»  Hon.  R  F.  Duller. 


could  not  only  suspend  the  writ  of  habeas  corpus^  but  could 
create  a  court  which  should  have  the  exclusive  jurisdiction  over 
the  citizen  to  try  him,  sentence  him,  and  put  him  to  death. 

We  have  already  seen  that  the  Congress  of  the  United  States 
raises  and  supports  armies,  provides  and  maintains  navies,  and 
makes  the  rules  and  regulations  for  the  government  of  both ; 
but  it  would  appear  from  the  teachings  of  the  learned  counsel 
on  the  other  side,  that  when  Congress  has  done  all  these  things, 
— when,  in  the  name  of  the  republic,  and  in  order  to  put  down 
rebellion  and  restore  the  supremacy  of  law,  it  has  created  the 
grandest  army  that  ever  fought,  —  the  power  thus  created  rises 
aboye  its  source  and  destroys  both  the  law  and  its  creator.  They 
would  have  us  believe  that  the  government  of  the  United  States 
has  evoked  a  spirit  which  it  cannot  lay,  — has  calkd  into  being 
a  power  which  at  once  destroyed  and  superseded  its  author, 
and  rode,  in  uncontrolled  triumph,  over  citizen  and  court.  Con- 
gress and  Constitution.  All  this  mockery  is  uttered  before  this 
august  court,  whose  every  member  is  sworn  to  administer  the 
law  in  accordance  with  the  Constitution.  This  monstrous  as- 
sumption I  shall  now  proceed  to  examine. 

And  now  what  is  martial  law?  It  is  a  new  term  to  American 
jurisprudence ;  and  I  congratulate  this  court  that  never  before 
in  the  long  history  of  this  republic  has  that  word  rung  out  its 
lawless  echoes  in  this  sacred  chamber. 

Mr.  Butler.  Did  not  the  decision  in  the  case  of  Luther  v,  Borden 
have  something  to  do  with  martial  law  ? 

It  was  not  the  subject  decided  by  the  court,  and  only  remote- 
ly analogous  to  this  case.  The  claim  to  exercise  martial  law  in 
that  case  was  under  the  old  charter  of  Charles  II.  in  Rhode 
Island,  and  not  under  the  Constitution. 

I.  Sir  Matthew  Hale,  in  his  History  of  the  Common  Law, 
says :  — 

"  Touching  the  business  of  martial  law,  these  things  are  to  be  ob- 
served, viz. :  — 

"  First.  That  in  truth  and  reality  it  is  not  a  law,  but  something  in- 
dulged rather  than  allowed  as  a  law.  The  necessity  of  government, 
order,  and  discipline  in  an  army  is  that  only  which  can  give  those 
laws  a  countenance ;  —  quod  enim  necessitas  cogit  defendi, 

"  Secondly.  This  indulged  law  was  only  to  extend  to  members  of  the 
army,  or  to  those  of  the  opposite  army,  and  never  was  so  much  indulged 
as  intended  to  be  executed  or  exercised  upon  others.    For  others  who 


were  not  listed  under  the  army  had  no  color  or  reason  to  be  bound  by 
military  constitutions  applicable  only  to  the  army,  whereof  they  were  not 
parts.  But  they  were  to  be  ordered  and  governed  according  to  the  laws 
to  which  they  were  subject,  though  it  were  a  time  of  war. 

"  Thirdly.  That  the  exercise  of  martial  law,  whereby  any  person  should 
lose  his  life,  or  member,  or  liberty,  may  not  be  permitted  in  time  of  peace, 
when  the  King's  courts  are  open  for  all  persons  to  receive  justice  accord- 
ing to  the  laws  of  the  land.  This  is  in  substance  declared  in  the  Petition 
of  Right,  3  Car.  i,  whereby  such  commissions  and  martial  law  were  re- 
pealed and  declared  to  be  contrary  to  law."  ^ 

2.  Blackstone  quotes  the  above  approvingly,  and  still  further 
enforces  the  same  doctrine.^ 

3.  Wharton,  in  his  Law  Lexicon,  says:  "Martial  law  is  that 
rule  of  action  which  is  imposed  by  the  military  power.  It  has 
no  place  in  the  institutions  of  this  country  [Great  Britain],  un- 
less the  articles  of  war  established  under  the  military  acts  be 
considered  as  of  that  character.  The  prerogative  of  proclaim- 
ing martial  law  within  this  kingdom  is  destroyed,  as  it  would 
appear,  by  the  Petition  of  Right."  ^ 

4.  Lord  Wellington  defined  martial  law  as  "  the  will  of  the 
commanding  general  exercised  over  a  conquered  or  occupied 
territory."  This  definition  was  given  by  him  in  his  despatches 
from  the  Peninsula,  and  was  subsequently  repeated  in  Parlia- 
ment, in  1 85 1.  In  the  same  debate,  Lords  Cottenham  and 
Campbell,  and  the  Attorney-General,  Sir  J.  Jcrvis,  declared  that 
"  martial  law  was  the  setting  aside  of  all  law,  and  acting  under 
military  power,  in  circumstances  of  great  emergency,  —  a  pro- 
ceeding w'hich  requires  to  be  followed  up  by  an  act  of  in- 

This  is  the  kind  of  law  to  which  the  gentlemen  appeal  to 
establish  the  validity  of  the  court  that  tried  the  petitioners. 

In  order  to  trace  the  history  and  exhibit  the  character  of  mar- 
tial law,  I  shall  refer  to  several  leading  precedents  in  English 

I.  The  Earl  of  Lancaster.  In  the  year  1322,  the  Earl  of  Lan- 
caster and  the  Earl  of  Hereford  rebelled  against  the  authority 
of  Edward  II.  They  collected  an  army  so  large  that  Edward 
was  compelled  to  raise  thirty  thousand  men  to  withstand  them. 
The   rebellious  Earls  posted  their  forces  on  the  Trent,  and  the 

1  London  edition  of  1794,  Vol.  I.  pp.  54,  55.  2  Book  I.  pp.  413,  414. 

8  Third  edition,  p.  578. 


armies  of  the  King  confronted  them.  They  fought  at  Borough- 
bridge;  the  insurgent  forces  were  overthrown;  Hereford  was 
slain,  and  Lancaster,  taken  in  arms  at  the  head  of  his  army,  was, 
amid  the  noise  of  battle,  tried  by  a  court-martial,  sentenced 
to  death,  and  executed.  When  Edward  III.  came  into  power, 
five  years  later,  on  a  formal  petition  presented  to  Parliament 
by  Lancaster's  son,  setting  forth  the  facts,  the  case  was  ex- 
amined and  a  law  was  enacted  reversing  the  attainder,  and 
declaring:  "  i.  That  in  time  of  peace  no  man  ought  to  be  ad- 
judged to  death  for  treason,  or  any  other  offence,  without  being 
arraigned  and  put  to  answer.  2.  That  regularly,  when  the  Kifigs 
courts  are  open,  it  is  a  time  of  peace  in  judgment  of  law.  3.  That 
no  man  ought  to  be  sentenced  to  death,  by  the  record  of  the 
King,  without  his  legal  XxitX  per  pares T  ^ 

I  call  attention  to  this  case  as  being  similar  in  some  of  the 
points  to  the  cause  before  us.  This  man  was  taken  in  arms  at 
the  head  of  his  army,  and  in  battle.  He  was  immediately  tried 
by  court-martial  and  executed ;  but  it  was  declared,  in  the  de- 
cree that  reversed  the  attainder,  that  he  might  have  been  tried 
by  the  courts  of  the  land,  and  therefore,  for  the  purposes  of  his 
trial,  it  was  a  time  of  peace ;  that  he  might  have  been  presented, 
indicted,  and  regularly  tried  before  the  civil  tribunal,  and  there- 
fore the  whole  proceeding  was  illegal.  So  carefully  was  the  line 
drawn  between  civil  and  martial  law  five  hundred  years  ago. 

2.  Sir  Thomas  Darnell.  He  was  arrested  and  imprisoned  in 
1625,  by  order  of  the  King,  for  refusing  to  pay  a  tax  which  he 
regarded  as  illegal.  A  writ  of  habeas  corpus  was  prayed  for,  but 
answer  was  returned  by  the  court  that  he  had  been  arrested  by 
special  order  of  the  King,  and  that  was  held  to  be  a  sufficient 
answer  to  the  petition.  Then  the  great  cause  came  up  to  be 
tried  in  Parliament,  whether  the  order  of  the  King  was  suffi- 
cient to  override  the  writ  of  habeas  coffus,  and  after  a  long 
and  stormy  debate,  in  which  the  ablest  minds  in  England  were 
engaged,  the  Petition  of  Right,  of  1628,  received  the  sanction  of 
the  King.  In  that  statute  it  was  decreed  that  the  King  should 
never  again  suspend  the  writ  of  habeas  corpus ;  that  he  should 
never  again  try  a  subject  by  military  commission;  and  since 
that  day,  no  king  of  England  has  presumed  to  usurp  that  high 
prerogative  which  belongs  to  Parliament  alone. 

1  The  History  of  the  Picas  of  the  Crown,  by  Sir  Matthew  Hale,  (Dublin,  1778,) 
Vol.  I.  p.  347  ;  Humc*s  History  of  England,  (Boston,  1854,)  Vol.  II.  p.  159. 


3.  For  the  purpose  of  citing  a  passage  in  the  argument  of 
Counsellor  Prynn,  I  call  attention  to  the  trial  of  Lord  Macguire. 
before  the  Court  of  King's  Bench,  in  1645.^  Lord  Macguire 
was  the  leader  of  the  great  Irish  rebellion  of  1641,  during  the 
progress  of  which  more  than  one  hundred  thousand  men,  wo- 
men, and  children  were  murdered,  under  circumstances  of  the 
greatest  brutality.  He  was  arrested  and  held  until  order  had 
been  restored;  and  in  1645  was  brought  before  the  King's 
Bench  for  trial.  Mr.  Prynn,  counsel  for  the  Crown,  published 
his  argument  in  the  case,  in  order,  as  he  says,  to  vindicate  the 
laws  of  England  — 

"  In  trying  this  notorious  offender,  guilty  of  the  horridest,  universalest 
treason  and  rebellion  that  ever  brake  forth  in  Ireland ;  and  that  in  a  time 
of  open  war  both  in  Ireland  and  England,  only  by  a  legal  indictment, 
and  indifferent  sworn  jury  of  honest  and  lawful  freeholders,  according  to 
the  known  laws  and  statutes  of  the  realm ;  not  in  a  court-martial,  or  any 
other  new-minted  judicature,  by  an  arbitrary,  summary,  illegal,  or  martial 
proceeding,  without  any  lawful  presentment,  indictment,  or  trial  by  a 
sworn,  impartial,  able  jury,  resolved  to  be  diametrically  contrary  to  the 
fundamental  laws,  customs,  great  charters,  statutes  of  the  realm,  and  in- 
herent liberty  of  the  subject,  especially  in  time  of  peace  when  all  other 
courts  of  justice  are  open,  and  of  very  dangerous  consequence,  and 
thereupon  especially  prohibited,  and  enacted  against." 

After  giving  a  long  list  of  references  to  authorities,  he  goes 
on  to  say  that  the  law  is  vindicated  still  more  — 

"  In  allowing  him  a  free,  honorable  trial  upon  an  indictment  first 
found  upon  oath  by  the  grand  jury,  and  then  suffering  him  to  take  not 
only  his  particular  challenges  by  the  poll  to  every  of  the  jurors  returned, 
upon  a  voyre  dire  (not  formerly  heard  of,  yet  allowed  him,  as  reasonable, 
to  take  away  all  color  of  partiality  or  non-indifference  in  the  jurors), 
whereupon  every  juryman  was  examined  before  he  was  sworn  of  the  jury, 
whether  he  had  contributed  or  advanced  any  moneys  upon  the  proposi- 
tions for  Ireland,  or  was  to  have  any  share  in  the  rebels'  lands  in  Ireland, 
by  act  of  Parliament,  or  otherwise.  But  likewise  in  permitting  him  to 
take  his  peremptory  challenge  to  thirty-five  of  the  two  juries  returned, 
without  any  particular  cause  alleged;  which  liberty  —  our  laws  allowing 
men,  in  favorem  vitcc,  and  because  there  may  be  private  causes  of  just 
exceptions  to  them  known  to  the  prisoner,  not  fit  to  be  revealed,  or  for 
which  he  wants  present  proof,  and  that  in  cases  of  high  treason,  as  well 
as  of  felony  —  the  court  thought  just  and  equal  to  allow  the  same  to 
him,  though  a  notorious  Irish  rebel."  * 

'  4  State  Trials,  (London,  1809,)  pj).  653  et  seq.  -  Ibid.,  pp.  691-693. 


4.  The  Bill  of  Rights  of  1688.  The  house  of  Stuart  had 
been  expelled,  and  William  had  succeeded  to  the  British  throne. 
Great  disturbances  had  arisen  in  the  realm  in  consequence  of 
the  change  of  dynasty.  Plots  were  formed  in  favor  of  James  in 
all  parts  of  England.  The  King's  person  was  unsafe  in  Lon- 
don. He  informed  the  Lords  and  Commons  of  the  great  dan- 
gers that  threatened  the  kingdom,  and  reminded  them  that  he 
had  no  right  to  declare  martial  law,  to  suspend  the  writ  of  habeas 
corpus^  or  to  seize  and  imprison  his  subjects  on  suspicion  of 
treason  or  intended  outbreak  against  the  peace  of  the  realm. 
He  laid  the  case  before  them,  and  asked  their  advice  and  assist- 
ance. In  answer  Parliament  passed  the  celebrated  Habeas  Cor- 
pus Act.  Since  that  day,  no  king  of  England  has  dared  to 
suspend  the  writ.     It  is  only  done  by  Parliament. 

5.  Governor  Wall.  In  the  year  1782,  Joseph  Wall,  Governor 
of  the  British  colony  at  Goree,  in  Africa,  had  under  his  com- 
mand about  five  hundred  British  soldiers.  Suspecting  that  a 
mutiny  was  about  to  break  out  in  the  garrison,  he  assembled 
them  on  the  parade-ground,  held  a  hasty  consultation  with  his 
officers,  and  immediately  ordered  Benjamin  Armstrong,  a  pri- 
vate and  supposed  ringleader,  to  be  seized,  stripped,  tied  to 
the  wheel  of  an  artillery  carriage,  and  to  receive  eight  hundred 
lashes  with  a  rope  one  inch  in  diameter.  The  order  was  carried 
into  execution,  and  Armstrong  died  of  his  injuries.  Twenty 
years  afterward  Governor  Wall  was  brought  before  the  most 
august  civil  tribunal  of  England  to  answer  for  the  murder  of 
Armstrong.  Sir  Archibald  McDonald,  Lord  Chief  Baron  of 
the  Court  pf  Exchequer,  Sir  Souldcn  Lawrence,  of  the  King's 
Bench,  and  Sir  Giles  Rooke,  of  the  Common  Pleas,  constituted 
the  court.  Wall's  counsel  claimed  that  he  had  the  power  of  life 
and  death  in  his  hands  in  time  of  mutiny;  that  the  necessity  of 
the  case  warranted  him  in  suspending  the  usual  forms  of  law ; 
that  as  governor  and  military  commander-in-chief  of  the  forces 
at  Goree,  he  was  the  sole  judge  of  the  necessities  of  the  case. 
After  a  patient  hearing  before  that  high  court,  he  was  found 
guilty  of  murder,  was  sentenced,  and  executed.^ 

I  now  ask  your  attention  to  analogous  precedents  in  our  own 

I.  On  the  I2th  of  June,  1775,  General  Gage,  the  commander 
of  the  British  forces,   declared   martial  law  in  Boston.     The 

1  28  State  Trials,  p.  5^ ;  see  also  Hough's  Military  Law,  pp.  537-540. 


battles  of  Concord  and  Lexington  had  been  fought  two  months 
before.  The  Colonial  army  was  besieging  the  city  and  its  Brit- 
ish garrison.  It  was  but  five  days  before  the  battle  of  Bunker 
Hill.  Parliament  had,  in  the  previous  February,  declared  the 
Colonies  in  a  state  of  rebellion.  Yet,  by  the  common  consent 
of  English  jurists.  General  Gage  violated  the  laws  of  England, 
and  laid  himself  liable  to  its  penalty,  when  he  declared  martial 
law.  This  position  is  sustained,  in  the  opinion  of  Mr.  Justice 
Woodbury,  in  Luther  v,  Borden  et  al} 

2,  On  the  7th  of  November,  1775,  Lord  Dunmore  declared 
martial  law  throughout  the  Commonwealth  of  Virginia.  This 
was  long  after  the  battle  of  Bunker  Hill,  and  when  war  was 
flaming  throughout  the  Colonies;  yet  he  was  denounced  by 
the  Virginia  Assembly  for  having  assumed  a  power  which  the 
King  himself  dared  not  exercise,  as  it  **  annuls  the  law  of  the 
land,  and  introduces  the  most  execrable  of  all  systems,  martial 
law."  Mr.  Justice  Woodbury  declares^  the  act  of  Lord  Dun- 
more  unwarranted  by  British  law. 

3.  The  practice  of  our  Revolutionary  fathers  on  this  subject 
is  most  instructive.  Their  conduct  throughout  the  great  strug- 
gle for  independence  was  equally  marked  by  respect  for  civil 
law  and  jealousy  of  martial  law.  Indeed,  it  was  one  of  the 
leading  grievances  set  forth  in  the  Declaration  of  Independence, 
that  the  King  of  Great  Britain  had  **  affected  to  render  the  mil- 
itary independent  of,  and  superior  to,  the  civil  power " ;  and 
though  Washington  was  clothed  with  almost  dictatorial  powers, 
he  did  not  presume  to  override  the  civil  law,  or  disregard  the 
orders  of  the  courts,  except  by  express  authority  of  Congress 
or  the  States.  In  his  file  of  general  orders,  covering  a  period 
of  five  years,  there  are  but  four  instances  in  which  civilians 
appear  to  have  been  tried  by  a  military  court,  and  all  these 
trials  were  expressly  authorized  by  resolutions  of  Congress. 

In  the  autumn  of  1777.  the  gloomiest  period  of  the  war,  a 
powerful  hostile  army  landed  on  the  shore  of  Chesapeake  Bay, 
for  the  purpose  of  invading  Maryland  and  Pennsylvania.  It 
was  feared  that  the  disloyal  inhabitants  along  his  line  of  march 
would  give  such  aid  and  information  to  the  British  commander 
as  to  imperil  the  safety  of  our  cause.     Congress  resolved  "  that 

*  7  Howard,  48.      For  a  history  of  the  transaction,  see  Annual  Register  for 

1775.  P-  '33- 

*  7  Howard,  65. 

VOL.   I.  If 


the  executive  authorities  of  Pennsylvania  and  Maryland  be  re- 
quested to  cause  all  persons  within  their  respective  States,  no- 
toriously disaffected,  to  be  forthwith  apprehended,  disarmed, 
and  secured  till  such  time  as  the  respective  States  think  they 
can  be  released  without  injury  to  the  common  cause,"  The 
Governor  of  Pennsylvania  authorized  the  arrests,  and  many  dis- 
loyal citizens  were  taken  into  custody  by  Washington's  officers, 
who  refused  to  answer  the  writ  of  liabcas  corpus  which  a  civil 
court  issued  for  the  release  of  the  prisoners.  Very  soon  after- 
wards the  Pennsylvania  legislature  passed  a  law  indemnifying 
the  Governor  and  the  military  authorities,  and  allowing  a  simi- 
lar course  to  be  pursued  thereafter,  on  recommendation  of  Con- 
gress or  the  commanding  officer  of  the  army.  But  this  law  gave 
authority  only  to  arrest  and  hold,  —  not  to  try ;  and  the  act  was 
to  remain  in  force  only  till  the  end  of  the  next  session  of  the 
General  Assembly.  So  careful  were  our  fathers  to  recognize 
the  supremacy  of  civil  law,  and  to  resist  all  pretensions  of  mar- 
tial law  to  authority. 

4.  I  pass  next  to  notice  an  event  that  occurred  under  the 
Confederation,  before  the  Constitution  was  adopted.  I  refer  to 
Shays's  Rebellion,  in  1787, — that  rebellion  which  was  men- 
tioned by  Hamilton  in  the  Federalist  as  a  proof  that  we  needed 
a  strong  central  government  to  preserve  our  liberties.  During 
all  that  disturbance  there  was  no  declaration  of  martial  law,  and 
the  habeas  corpus  was  only  suspended  for  a  limited  time  and 
with  very  careful  restrictions.  Governor  Bowdoin's  order  to 
General  Lincoln,  on  the  19th  of  January,  1787,  was  in  these 
words :  **  Consider  yourself  in  all  your  military  offensive  opera- 
tions constantly  as  under  the  direction  of  the  civil  officer,  save 
where  any  armed  force  shall  appear  to  oppose  your  marching  to 
execute  these  orders." 

5.  I  refer  next  to  a  case  under  the  Constitution,  the  rebellion 
of  1793  in  Western  Pennsylvania.  President  Washington  did 
not  march  with  his  troops  until  the  judge  of  the  United  States 
District  Court  had  certified  that  the  Marshal  was  unable  to  exe- 
cute his  warrants.  Though  the  parties  were  tried  for  treason, 
all  the  arrests  were  made  by  the  authority  of  the  civil  officers. 
The  orders  of  the  Secretary  of  War  stated  that  **  the  object  of 
the  expedition  was  to  assist  the  Marshal  of  the  District  to  make 
prisoners."  Every  movement  was  made  under  the  direction  of 
the  civil  authorities.     So  anxious  was  Washington  on  this  sub- 


ject,  that  he  gave  his  orders  with  the  greatest  care,  and  went  in 
person  to  see  that  they  were  carefully  executed.  He  issued 
orders  declaring  that  **  the  army  should  not  consider  themselves 
as  judges  or  executioners  of  the  laws,  but  only  as  employed  to 
support  the  proper  authorities  in  the  execution  of  the  laws.'* 

6.  I  next  refer  to  an  incident  connected  with  the  Burr  con- 
spiracy, in  1807.  The  first  developments  of  this  plot  were 
exceedingly  alarming.  Reports  were  forwarded  to  President 
Jefferson,  and  by  him  communicated  confidentially  to  the  Sen- 
ate of  the  United  States,  with  his  recommendation  that  Congress 
pass  a  law  authorizing  the  suspension,  for  a  limited  period,  of 
the  writ  of  habeas  corf  us.  On  the  26th  of  January,  the  Senate, 
by  a  unanimous  vote,  passed  a  bill  authorizing  the  suspension 
of  the  writ  for  three  months,  in  cases  of  persons  who  were 
charged  under  oath  with  treason  or  misprision  of  treason.  Thus 
carefully  limited  and  restricted,  the  bill  was  sent,  under  the  seal 
of  secrecy,  to  the  House  of  Representatives.  When  it  was  read, 
the  doors  were  immediately  opened;  a  motion  was  made  to 
reject  the  bill,  that  it  might  not  even  reach  its  first  reading; 
and,  after  a  very  able  debate  of  five  days,  it  was  rejected  by  a 
vote  of  one  hundred  and  thirteen  to  nineteen. 

Not  content,  even,  with  that  decided  expression  of  sentiment, 
two  weeks  later,  on  the  17th  of  February,  a  resolution  was  intro- 
duced into  the  House  ordering  the  Committee  on  the  Judiciary 
"to  bring  in  a  bill  more  thoroughly  to  protect  the  rights  of 
American  citizens  from  arrest  and  imprisonment  under  color  of 
authority  of  the  President  of  the  United  States."  After  a  very 
searching  and  able  debate,  it  was  concluded  that  existing  laws 
afforded  ample  protection ;  but  so  anxious  were  the  representa- 
tives of  the  people  to  place  the  safety  of  the  citizen  beyond  the 
reach  of  doubt,  that  the  resolution  came  within  t\vo  votes  of 
passing  in  the  House.  The  vote  stood  58  yeas  to  60  nays;  and 
that,  too,  in  the  very  midst  of  the  threatened  conspiracy.^ 

I  will  remark  in  this  connection,  that,  though  President  Jef- 
ferson recommended  the  passage  of  the  act  referred  to,  yet 
in  his  correspondence  he  had  previously  expressed  the  opinion 
that  it  was  unwise,  even  in  insurrection,  to  suspend  the  writ 
of  habeas  corpus? 

*  The  full  history  of  this  legislative  action  will  be  found  in  Benton's  Abridgment 
of  Congressional  Debates,  Vol.  III.  pp.  504-542. 
a  Works,  Vol.  II.  pp.  329,  355. 


So  jealous  were  our  people  of  any  infringement  of  the  rights 
of  the  citizen  to  the  privileges  of  the  writ,  that  in  the  very 
midst  of  the  dangers  at  New  Orleans  General  Wilkinson  was 
brought  before  a  court  there  for  having  neglected  promptly  to 
obey  a  writ  of  habeas  corpus. 

7.  I  call  the  attention  of  the  court  for  a  moment  to  the  dis- 
cussion in  Congress  in  relation  to  the  action  of  General  Jack- 
son, in  1 8 14,  at  New  Orleans.  It  will  be  remembered  that, 
notwithstanding  flagrant  war  was  blazing  around  New  Orleans 
when  the  General  declared  martial  law,  yet  it  was  held  that  he 
had  violated  the  sanctity  of  the  courts,  and  he  was  fined  ac- 
cordingly.^ In  1842  a  bill  was  introduced  into  Congress  to 
reimburse  him  for  the  fine.  The  debate  was  very  able  and 
thorough.  James  Buchanan,  then  a  member  of  Congress,  spoke 
in  its  favor,  and  no  one  will  doubt  his  willingness  to  put  the 
conduct  of  Jackson  on  the  most  favorable  ground  possible.  I 
quote  from  his  speech :  — 

"  It  had  never  been  contended  on  this  floor  that  a  military  commander 
possessed  the  power,  under  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States,  to 
declare  martial  law.  No  such  principle  had  ever  been  asserted  on  this 
(the  Democratic)  side  of  the  House.  He  had  then  expressly  declared 
(and  the  published  report  of  the  debate,  which  he  had  recently  exam- 
ined, would  justify  him  in  this  assertion)  that  we  did  not  contend, 
strictly  speaking,  that  General  Jackson  had  any  constitutional  right  to 
declare  martial  law  at  New  Orleans ;  but  that,  as  this  exercise  of  power 
was  the  only  means  of  saving  the  city  from  capture  by  the  enemy,  he 
stood  amply  justified  before  his  country  for  the  act.  We  placed  the 
argument  not  upon  the  ground  of  strict  constitutional  right,  but  of  such 
an  overruling  necessity  as  left  General  Jackson  no  alternative  between 
the  establishment  of  martial  law  and  the  sacrifice  of  New  Orleans  to  the 
rapine  and  lust  of  the  British  soldiery.  On  this  ground  Mr.  B.  had 
planted  himself  firmly  at  the  last  session  of  Congress ;  and  here  he  in- 
tended to  remain."  ^ 

All  the  leading  members  took  the  same  ground.  It  was  not 
attempted  to  justify,  but  only  to  palliate  and  excuse  the  con- 
duct of  Jackson. 

8.  I  call  attention  next  to  the  opinions  of  our  courts  in  re- 
gard to  martial  law  and  the  suspension  of  the  writ  of  habeas 
corpus,  and  first  read  from  the  opinion  of  Chief  Justice  Mar- 

1  For  a  full  record  of  the  law  in  the  case,  see  3  Martin's  Lou.  Rep.,  O.  S.,  530. 
•  Benton*s  Abridgment  of  the  Debates  of  Congress,  Vol.  XIV.  p.  628. 


shall  in  Ex  parte  Bollman :  "  If  at  any  time  the  public  safety 
should  require  the  suspension  of  the  powers  vested  ....  in  the 
courts  of  the  United  States,  it  is  for  the  legislature  to  say  so. 
That  question  depends  on  political  considerations,  on  which  the 
legislature  is  to  decide.  Until  the  legislative  will  be  expressed, 
the  court  can  only  see  its  duty,  and  must  obey  the  laws."  ^ 

I  also  cite  the  opinion  of  the  late  Chief  Justice  m  Ex  parte 
Menyman,^  in  which  it  was  decided  that  the  legislative  au- 
thority alone  could  suspend  the  writ  of  habeas  corpus.  This 
decision  was  rendered  in  1862,  in  the  Maryland  Circuit. 

I  shall  conclude  these  citations  from  our  own  judicial  history 
by  reading  a  few  paragraphs  from  the  opinion  of  Mr.  Justice 
Woodbury  in  Luther  v,  Borden  et  al?  The  passage  loses  none 
of  its  force  from  the  fact  that  it  is  part  of  a  dissenting  opinion ; 
for  the  principles  involved  in  it  were  not  strictly  in  issue,  nor 
were  they  denied  by  the  court.  After  stating  his  positions  at 
length,  the  learned  justice  says :  — 

"  For  convincing  reasons  like  these,  in  every  country  which  makes 
•any  claim  to  political  or  civil  liberty,  *  martial  law,'  as  here  attempted, 
and  as  once  practised  in  England  against  her  own  people,  has  been 
expressly  forbidden  there  for  near  two  centuries,  as  well  as  by  the  prin- 
ciples of  every  other  free  constitutional  govemment.  (i  HaJlam's 
Const.  Hist.  420.)  And  it  would  be  not  a  little  extraordinary  if  the 
spirit  of  our  institutions,  both  State  and  national,  was  not  much  stronger 
than  in  England  against  the  unlimited  exercise  of  martial  law  over  a 
whole  people,  whether  attempted  by  any  chief  magistrate  or  even  by  a 

"  My  impression  is  that  a  state  of  war,  whether  foreign  or  domestic, 
may  exist,  in  the  great  perils  of  which  it  is  competent,  under  its  rights 
and  on  principles  of  national  law,  for  a  commanding  officer  of  troops 
under  the  controlling  govemment  to  extend  certain  rights  of  war,  not 
only  over  his  camp,  but  its  environs  and  the  near  field  of  his  military 
operations.  (6  American  Archives,  186.)  But  no  further  nor  wider. 
(Johnson  v.  Davis  ct  al.,  3  Martin,  530,  551.)  On  this  rested  the  justi- 
fication of  one  of  the  great  commanders  of  this  country  and  of  the  age, 
in  a  transaction  so  well  known  at  New  Orleans.  But  in  civil  strife  they 
are  not  to  extend  beyond  the  place  where  insurrection  exists.  (3  Mar- 
tin, 551.)  Nor  to  portions  of  the  State  remote  from  the  scene  of  military 
operations,  nor  after  the  resistance  is  over,  nor  to  persons  not  con- 
nected with  it  (Grant  z\  Gould  et  al.y  2  H.  Black.  69.)  Nor  even 
within  the  scene  can  they  extend  to  the  person  or  property  of  citizens 

'  4  Cranch,  loi.  ^  ^  American  I^w  Register,  524.  ^  7  Howard,  i. 


against  whom  no  probable  cause  exists  which  may  justify  it  (Sutton  v, 
Johnston,  i  D.  &  E.  549.)"  ^ 

I  cannot  leave  this  branch  of  my  argument  without  fortify- 
ing my  position  by  the  authority  of  two  of  the  greatest  names 
on  the  roll  of  British  jurists.  To  enable  me  to  do  this,  I  call 
attention  to  the  celebrated  trial  of  the  Rev.  John  Smith,  mis- 
sionary at  Demerara  in  British  Guiana.  In  the  year  1823  a 
rebellion  broke  out  in  Demerara,  extending  over  isome  fifty 
plantations.  The  governor  of  the  district  immediately  declared 
martial  law.  A  number  of  the  insurgents  were  killed,  and  the 
rebellion  was  crushed.  It  was  alleged  that  the  Rev.  John  Smith, 
a  missionary  sent  out  by  the  London  Missionary  Society,  had 
been  an  aider  and  abettor  of  the  rebellion.  A  court-martial  was 
appointed,  and,  in  order  to  give  it  the  semblance  of  civil  law, 
the  Governor-General  appointed  the  chief  justice  of  the  district 
as  a  staff  officer,  and  then  detailed  him  as  president  of  the  court 
to  try  the  accused.  All  the  other  members  of  the  court  were 
military  men,  and  he  was  made  a  military  officer  for  the  special 
occasion.  Missionary  Smith  was  tried,  found  guilty,  and  sen- 
tenced to  be  hung.  The  proceedings  came  to  the  notice  of 
Parliament,  and  were  made  the  subject  of  inquiry  and  debate. 
Smith  died  in  prison  before  the  day  of  execution,  but  the  trial 
gave  rise  to  one  of  the  ablest  debates  of  the  century,  in  which 
the  principles  involved  in  the  cause  now  before  this  court  were 
fully  discussed.  Lord  Brougham  and  Sir  James  Mackintosh 
were  among  the  speakers.  In  the  course  of  his  speech.  Lord 
Brougham  said :  — 

"  No  such  thing  as  martial  law  is  recognized  in  Great  Britain,  and 

courts  founded  on  proclamations  of  martial  law  are  wholly  unknown 

Suppose  I  were  ready  to  admit  that,  on  the  pressure  of  a  great  emer- 
gency, such  as  invasion  or  rebellion,  when  there  is  no  time  for  the  slow 
and  cumbrous  proceedings  of  the  civil  law,  a  proclamation  may  justifi- 
ably be  issued  for  excluding  the  ordinary  tribunals,  and  directing  that 
offences  should  be  tried  by  a  military  court,  —  such  a  proceeding  might 
be  justified  by  necessity ;  but  it  could  rest  on  that  alone.  Created  by 
necessity,  necessity  must  limit  its  continuance.  It  would  be  the  worst  of 
all  conceivable  grievances,  —  it  would  be  a  calamity  unspeakable,  —  if 
the  whole  law  and  constitution  of  England  were  suspended  one  hour 

longer  than  the  most  imperious  necessity  demanded I  know  that 

the  proclamation  of  martial  law  renders  every  man  liable  to  be  treated 

^  7  Howard,  62,  83,  84. 


as  a  soldier.  But  the  instant  the  necessity  ceases,  that  instant  the  state 
of  soldiership  ought  to  cease,  and  the  rights,  with  the  relations,  of  civil 
life  to  be  restored:'  ^ 

The  speech  of  Sir  James  Mackintosh,  who  was  perhaps  the 
very  first  English  jurist  of  his  day,  is  in  itself  a  magazine  of  le- 
gal learning,  and  treats  so  fully  and  exhaustively  the  subject  of 
martial  law  and  military  tribunals  that  I  shall  take  the  liberty  of 
quoting  several  passages.  I  do  this  with  less  hesitation  because 
I  have  found  no  argument  so  full  and  complete,  and  no  author- 
ity more  perfectly  applicable  to  the  cause  before  this  court. 

"  On  the  legality  of  the  trial,  sir,  the  impregnable  speech  of  my  learned 
friend  *  has  left  me  little  if  anything  to  say.  The  only  principle  on  which 
the  law  of  England  tolerates  what  is  called  '  martial  law  *  is  necessity ; 
its  introduction  can  be  justified  only  by  necessity ;  its  continuance  re- 
quires precisely  the  same  justification  of  necessity ;  and  if  it  survives  the 
necessity,  in  which  alone  it  rests,  for  a  single  minute,  it  becomes  instantly 
a  mere  exercise  of  lawless  violence.  When  foreign  invasion  or  civil  war 
renders  it  impossible  for  courts  of  law  to  sit,  or  to  enforce  the  execution 
of  their  judgments,  it  becomes  necessary  to  find  some  rude  substitute 
for  them,  and  to  employ  for  that  purpose  the  military,  which  is  the  only 
remaining  force  in  the  community." 

I  desire  to  call  particular  attention  to  the  sentences  which  lay 
down  the  chief  condition  that  can  justify  martial  law,  and  also 
mark  the  boundary  between  martial  and  civil  law. 

"  While  the  laws  are  silenced  by  the  noise  of  arms,  the  rulers  of  the 
armed  force  must  punish,  as  equitably  as  they  can,  those  crimes  which 
threaten  their  own  safety  and  that  of  society,  but  no  longer ;  —  every 
moment  beyond  is  usurpation.  As  soon  as  the  laws  can  act,  every  other 
mode  of  punishing  supposed  crimes  is  itself  an  enormous  crime.  If 
argument  be  not  enough  on  this  subject,  —  if,  indeed,  the  mere  state- 
ment be  not  the  evidence  of  its  own  truth,  —  I  appeal  to  the  highest 
and  most  venerable  authority  known  to  our  law." 

He  proceeds  to  quote  Sir  Matthew  Hale  on  martial  law,  and 
cites  the  case  of  the  Earl  of  Lancaster,  to  which  I  have  already 
referred,  and  then  declares :  — 

"  No  other  doctrine  has  ever  been  maintained  in  this  country  since 
the  solemn  Parliamentary  condemnation  of  the  usurpations  of  Charles  I., 
which  he  was  himself  compelled  to  sanction  in  the  Petition  of  Right. 
In  none  of  the  revolutions  or  rebellions  which  have  since  occurred  has 

*  Speeches  of  Henry,  Lord  Brougham,  (Edinburgh,  1838,)  Vol.  11.  pp.  70,  71. 

*  Lord  Brougham. 


martial  law  been  exercised,  however  much,  in  some  of  them,  the  neces- 
sity might  seem  to  exist.  Even  in  those  most  deplorable  of  all  commo- 
tions which  tore  Ireland  in  pieces  in  the  last  years  of  the  eighteenth 
century,  —  in  the  midst  of  ferocious  revolt  and  cruel  ^punishment,  —  at 
the  very  moment  of  legalizing  these  martial  jurisdictions  in  1799,  ^^ 
very  Irish  statute  which  was  passed  for  that  purpose  did  homage  to  the 
ancient  and  fundamental  principles  of  the  law  in  the  very  act  of  depart- 
ing from  them.  The  Irish  statute,  39  George  III.,  chap.  3,  after  reciting 
*  that  martial  law  had  been  successfully  exercised  to  the  restoration  of 
peace,  so  far  as  to  permit  the  course  of  the  common  law  partially  to 
take  place,  but  that  the  rebellion  continued  to  rage  in  considerable  parts 
of  the  kingdom,  whereby  it  has  become  necessary  for  Parliament  to  in- 
terpose,' goes  on  to  enable  the  Lord  Lieutenant  *  to  punish  rebels  by 
courts-martial.*  This  statute  is  the  most  positive  declaration  that,  where 
the  common  law  can  be  exercised  in  some  parts  of  the  country  ^  martial  law 
cannot  be  established  in  others^  though  rebellion  actually  prevails  in  those 
others^  without  an  extraordinary  interposition  of  the  supreme  legislative 
authority  itself  .  .  . 

"  I  have  already  quoted  from  Sir  Matthew  Hale  his  position  respect- 
ing the  twofold  operation  of  martial  law ;  —  as  it  affects  the  army  of  the 
power  which  exercises  it,  and  as  it  acts  against  the  army  of  the  enemy. 
That  great  judge,  happily  unused  to  standing  aniiies,  and  reasonably 
prejudiced  against  military  jurisdiction,  does  not  pursue  his  distinction 
through  all  its  consequences,  and  assigns  a  ground  for  the  whole  which 
will  support  only  one  of  its  parts.  *  The  necessity  of  order  and  discipline 
in  an  army '  is,  according  to  him,  the  reason  why  the  law  tolerates  this 
departure  from  its  most  valuable  rules ;  but  this  necessity  only  justifies 
the  exercise  of  martial  law  over  the  army  of  our  own  state.  One  part  of 
it  has  since  been  annually  taken  out  of  the  common  law  and  provided 
for  by  the  Mutiny  Act,  which  subjects  the  military  offences  of  soldiers 
only  to  punishment  by  military  courts  even  in  time  of  peace.  Hence  we 
may  now  be  said  annually  to  legalize  military  law ;  which,  however,  dif- 
fers essentially  from  martial  law,  in  being  confined  to  offences  against 
military  discipline,  and  in  not  extending  to  any  persons  but  those  who 
are  members  of  the  army.  Martial  law  exercised  against  enemies  or 
rebels  cannot  depend  on  the  same  principle,  for  it  is  certainly  not  in- 
tended to  enforce  or  preserve  discipline  among  them.  It  seems  to  me 
to  be  only  a  more  regular  and  convenient  mode  of  exercising  the  right  to 
kill  in  war,  —  a  right  originating  in  self-defence,  and  limited  to  those 
cases  where  such  killing  is  necessary  as  the  means  of  insuring  that  end. 
Martial  law  put  in  force  against  rebels  can  only  be  excused  as  a  mode  of 
more  deliberately  and  equitably  selecting  the  persons  from  whom  quarter 
ought  to  be  withheld  in  a  case  where  all  have  forfeited  their  claim  to  it. 
It  is  nothing  more  than  a  sort  of  better  regulated  decimation,  founded 


upon  choice,  instead  of  chance,  in  order  to  provide  for  the  safety  of  the 
conquerors,  without  the  horrors  of  undistinguished  slaughter ;  it  is  justi- 
fiable only  where  it  is  an  act  of  mercy.  Thus  the  matter  stands  by  the 
law  of  nations.  But  by  the  law  of  England  it  cannot  be  exercised  except 
where  the  jurisdiction  of  courts  of  justice  is  interrupted  by  violence. 
Did  this  necessity  exist  at  Demerara,  on  the  13th  of  October,  1823? 
Was  it  on  that  day  impossible  for  the  courts  of  law  to  try  offences  ?  It 
is  clear  that,  if  the  case  be  tried  by  the  law  of  England,"  and  unless  an 
affirmative  answer  can  be  given  to  these  questions  of  fact,  the  court- 
martial  had  no  legal  power  to  try  Mr.  Smith." 

After  presenting  arguments  to  show  that  a  declaration  of  mar- 
tial law  was  not  necessary,  the  learned  jurist  continues :  — 

"  For  six  weeks,  then,  before  the  court-martial  was  assembled,  and  for 
twelve  weeks  before  that  court  pronounced  sentence  of  death  on  Mr. 
Smith,  all  hostility  liad  ceased,  no  necessity  for  their  existence  can  be 
pretended,  and  every  act  which  they  did  was  an  open  and  deliberate 
defiance  of  the  law  of  England. 

Where,  then,  are  we  to  look  for  any  color  of  law  in  these  proceedings  ? 
Do  they  derive  it  from  the  Dutch  law  ?  I  have  diligentiy  examined  the 
Roman  law,  which  is  the  foundation  of  that  system,  and  the  writings  of 
those  most  eminent  jurists  who  have  contributed  so  much  to  the  reputa- 
tion of  Holland.  I  can  find  in  them  no  trace  of  any  such  principle  as 
martial  law.  Military  law,  indeed,  is  clearly  defined ;  and  provision  is 
made  for  the  punishment  by  military  judges  of  the  purely  military  offen- 
ces of  soldiers.  But  to  any  power  of  extending  military  jurisdiction  over 
those  who  are  not  soldiers,  there  is  not  an  allusion.  I  will  not  furnish  a 
subject  for  the  pleasantries  of  my  right  honorable  friend,  or  tempt  him 
into  a  repetition  of  his  former  innumerable  blunders,  by  naming  the 
greatest  of  these  jurists  ^  \  lest  his  date,  his  occupation,  and  his  rank  might 
be  again  mistaken,  and  the  venerable  President  of  the  Supreme  Court 
of  Holland  might  be  once  more  called  a  *  clerk  of  the  States  General.' 
*  Persecutio  militis,'  says  that  learned  person,  *  pertinet  ad  judicem  mili- 
tarem  quando  delictum  sit  militare,  et  ad  judicem  communem  quando 
delictum  sit  commune.'  Far  from  supposing  it  to  be  possible  that  those 
who  were  not  soldiers  could  ever  be  triable  by  military  courts  for  crimes 
not  military,  he  expressly  declares  the  law  and  practice  of  the  United 
Provinces  to  be,  that  even  soldiers  are  amenable,  for  ordinary  offences 
against  society,  to  the  court  of  Holland  and  Friesland,  of  which  he  was 
long  the  chief.  The  law  of  Holland,  therefore,  does  not  justify  this  trial 
by  martial  law. 

''Nothing  remains  but  some  law  of  the  colony  itself.     Where  is  it? 

*  Bynkershoek,  of  whose  professional  rank  Mr.  Canning  had  professed  igno- 


It  is  not  alleged  or  alluded  to  in  any  part  of  this  trial.  We  have  heard 
nothing  of  it  this  evening.  So  unwilling  was  I  to  believe  that  this  court- 
martial  would  dare  to  act  without  some  pretence  of  legal  authority,  that  I 
suspected  an  authority  for  martial  law  would  be  dug  out  of  some  dark  cor- 
ner of  a  Guiana  ordinance.  I  knew  it  was  neither  in  the  law  of  England 
nor  in  that  of  Holland ;  and  I  now  believe  that  it  does  not  exist  even  in 
the  law  of  Demerara.  The  silence  of  those  who  are  interested  in  pro- 
ducing it  is  not  my  only  reason  for  this  belief.  I  happen  to  have  seen 
the  instructions  of  the  States  General  to  their  Governor  of  Demerara,  in 
November,  1792,  probably  the  last  ever  issued  to  such  an  officer  by  that 
illustrious  and  memorable  assembly.  They  speak  at  large  of  councils  of 
war,  both  for  consultation  and  for  judicature.  They  authorize  these 
councils  to  try  the  military  offences  of  soldiers ;  and  therefore,  by  an  in- 
ference which  is  stronger  than  silence,  authorize  us  to  conclude  that  the 
Governor  had  no  power  to  subject  those  who  were  not  soldiers  to  their 

"  The  result,  then,  is,  that  the  law  of  Holland  does  not  allow  what  is 
called  *  martial  law  *  in  any  case ;  and  that  the  law  of  England  does  not 
allow  it  without  a  necessity,  which  did  not  exist  in  the  case  of  Mr.  Smith. 
If,  then,  martial  law  is  not  to  be  justified  by  the  law  of  England,  or  by 
the  law  of  Holland,  or  by  the  law  of  Demerara,  what  is  there  to  hinder 
me  from  affirming,  that  the  members  of  this  pretended  court  had  no  more 
right  to  try  Mr.  Smith  than  any  other  fifteen  men  on  the  face  of  the  earth  ; 
that  their  acts  were  nullities,  and  their  meeting  a  conspiracy  ;  that  their 
sentence  was  a  direction  to  commit  a  crime  ;  that  if  it  had  been  obeyed,  it 
would  not  have  been  an  execution,  but  a  murder ;  and  that  they,  and  all 
other  parties  engaged  in  it,  must  have  answered  for  it  with  their  lives  ?  "  * 

May  it  please  the  court,  many  more  such  precedents  as  I 
have  already  cited  might  be  added  to  the  list,  but  it  is  unneces- 
sary. They  all  teach  the  same  lesson.  They  enable  us  to  trace 
from  its  far-off  source  the  progress  and  development  of  An- 
glo-Saxon liberty;  its  innumerable  conflicts  with  irresponsible 
power;  its  victories,  dearly  bought,  but  always  won,  —  victories 
which  have  crowned  with  immortal  honors  the  institutions-  of 
England,  and  left  their  indelible  impress  upon  the  Anglo-Saxon 
mind.  These  principles  our  fathers  brought  with  them  to  the 
New  World,  and  guarded  with  sleepless  vigilance  and  religious 
devotion.  In  its  darkest  hour  of  trial,  during  the  late  Rebellion, 
the  republic  did  not  forget  them.  So  completely  have  they 
been  impressed  on  the  minds  of  American  lawyers,  so  thor- 

1  Miscellaneous  Works  of  the  Rt.  Hon.  Sir  James  Mackintosh,  (London,  1S51,) 
pp.  734  et  seq. 


oughly  have  they  been  ingrained  into  the  very  fibre  of  Ameri- 
can character,  that  notwithstanding  the  citizens  of  eleven  States 
went  off  into  wild  rebellion,  broke  their  oaths  of  allegiance  to 
the  Constitution,  and  levied  war  against  their  country,  yet,  with 
all  their  crimes  upon  them,  there  was  still  in  the  minds  of  those 
men,  during  all  the  struggle,  so  deep  and  enduring  an  impres- 
sion on  this  great  subject  that,  even  during  their  rebellion,  the 
courts  of  the  Southern  States  adjudicated  causes  like  the  one 
now  before  you  in  favor  of  the  civil  law  and  against  courts- 
martial  established  under  military  authority  for  the  trial  of  citi- 
zens. In  Texas,  Mississippi,  Virginia,  and  other  insurgent 
States,  by  the  order  of  the  Rebel  President,  the  writ  of  habeas 
corpus  was  suspended,  martial  law  was  declared,  and  provost- 
marshals  were  appointed  to  exercise  military  authority.  But 
when  civilians,  arrested  by  military  authority,  petitioned  for  re- 
lease by  writ  of  habeas  corpus^  in  every  case  save  one  the  writ 
was  granted,  and  it  was  decided  that  there  could  be  no  suspen- 
sion of  the  writ  or  declaration  of  martial  law  by  the  Executive, 
or  by  any  other  than  the  supreme  legislative  authority.  The 
men  who  once  stood  high  on  the  list  of  American  lawyers,  such 
as  Alexander  H.  Stephens,  Albert  Pike,  and  General  Houston, 
wrote  letters  and  made  speeches  against  the  practice  until  it 
was  abandoned.  In  the  year  1862,  the  commander-in-chief  of 
the  Rebel  armies,  compelled  by  the  force  of  public  sentiment, 
published  a  general  order  disclaiming  any  right  or  claim  of 
right  to  establish  martial  law  or  suspend  the  writ  of  habeas 
corpus  without  the  authority  of  the  Rebel  Congress. 

I  said  there  was  one  exceptional  instance.  A  judge  of  the 
Supreme  Court  of  Texas,  in  the  first  excitement  of  the  Rebel- 
lion, refused  to  issue  a  writ  of  habeas  corpus  to  release  from 
military  arrest  a  citizen  charged  with  disloyalty  to  the  Rebel 
government.  He  wrote  his  opinion,  and  delivered  it;  but  he 
was  so  much  agitated  when  he  found  that  he  stood  alone  among 
judges  on  that  great  question  of  human  rights  that  he  went  to 
the  book  of  records  in  which  his  opinion  was  recorded,  and 
with  his  own  hand  plucked  the  leaves  from  the  volume  and 
destroyed  them.  He  also  destroyed  the  original  copy,  that  it 
might  never  be  put  in  type,  and,  having  destroyed  everything 
but  the  remembrance  of  it,  ended  his  life  by  suicide.  I  be- 
lieve he  alone  among  Rebel  judges  ventured  to  recognize  mar- 
tial law  declared  without  legislative  authority. 


The  spirit  of  liberty  and  law  is  well  embodied  in  this  one  sen- 
tence of  De  Lolme :  "  The  arbitrary  discretion  of  any  man  is 
the  law  of  tyrants :  it  is  always  unknown,  it  is  different  in  dif- 
ferent men,  it  is  casual,  and  depends  upon  constitution,  temper, 
and  passion ;  in  the  best  it  is  oftentimes  caprice,  in  the  worst 
it  is  every  vice,  folly,  and  passion  to  which  human  nature  is 
liable."^  And  yet,  if  this  military  commission  could  legally 
try  these  petitioners,  its  authority  rested  only  upon  the  will  of  a 
single  man.  If  it  had  the  right  to  try  these  petitioners,  it  had 
the  right  to  try  any  civilian  in  the  United  States ;  it  had  the 
right  to  try  your  Honors,  for  you  are  civilians. 

The  learned  gentlemen  tell  us  that  necessity  justifies  martial 
law.  But  what  is  the  nature  of  that  necessity.  If,  at  this  mo- 
ment, Lee,  with  his  Rebel  army  at  one  end  of  Pennsylvania  Ave- 
nue, and  Grant,  with  the  army  of  the  Union  at  the  other,  with 
hostile  banners  and  roaring  guns,  were  approaching  this  Capi- 
tol, the  sacred  seat  of  justice  and  law,  I  have  no  doubt  they 
would  expel  your  Honors  from  the  bench,  and  the  Senate  and 
House  of  Representatives  from  their  halls.  The  jurisdiction 
of  battle  would  supersede  the  jurisdiction  of  law.  This  court 
would  be  silenced  by  the  thunders  of  war. 

If  an  earthquake  should  shake  the  city  of  Washington,  and 
tumble  this  Capitol  in  ruins  about  us,  it  would  drive  your  Hon- 
ors from  the  bench,  and,  for  the  time,  volcanic  law  would  super- 
sede the  Constitution. 

If  the  supreme  court  of  Herculaneum  or  Pompeii  had  been 
in  session  when  the  fiery  ruin  overwhelmed  those  cities,  its  au- 
thority would  have  been  suddenly  usurped  and  overthrown ;  but 
I  question  the  propriety  of  calling  that  law  which,  in  its  very 
nature,  is  a  destruction  or  suspension  of  all  law. 

From  this  review  of  the  history  and  character  of  martial  law 
I  am  warranted,  by  the  uniform  precedents  of  English  law  for 
many  centuries,  by  the  uniform  practice  of  our  fathers  during 
the  Colonial  and  Revolutionary  periods,  by  the  unanimous  de- 
cisions of  our  courts  under  the  Constitution,  and  by  the  teach- 
ings of  our  statesmen,  to  conclude,  — 

I .  That  the  Executive  has  no  authority  to  suspend  the  writ  of 
/labeas  corptis,  or  to  declare  or  administer  martial  law ;  much  less 
has  any  military  subordinate  of  the  Executive  such  authority ; 

1  Rise  and    Progress  of  the  English  Constiturion,   (London,   1838,)   Vol.   I. 


but  these  high  functions  belong  exclusively  to  the  supreme 
legislative  authority  of  the  nation. 

2.  That  if,  in  the  presence  of  great  and  sudden  danger,  and  un- 
der the  pressure  of  overwhelming  necessity,  the  chief  Executive 
should,  without  legislative  warrant,  suspend  the  writ  of  habeas 
corpus,  or  declare  martial  law,  he  must  not  look  to  the  courts 
for  justification,  but  to  the  legislature  for  indemnification. 

3.  That  no  such  necessity  can  be  pleaded  to  justify  the  trial 
of  a  civilian  by  a  military  tribunal,  when  the  legally  authorized 
civil  courts  are  open  and  unobstructed. 

It  will  be  observed  that  in  this  discussion  I  have  not  alluded 
to  the  legal  status  of  citizens  of  those  States  which  were  de- 
clared, both  by  the  legislative  and  executive  departments  of  the 
government,  to  be  in  rebellion  against  the  United  States.  It  has 
been  fully  settled,  not  only  by  the  other  co-ordinate  branches 
of  the  government,  but  by  this  court,  that  those  States  consti- 
tuted a  belligerent  government  de  facto,  against  which  the  Fed- 
eral government  might  proceed  with  all  the  appliances  of  war, 
and  might  extend  absolute  military  jurisdiction  over  every  foot 
of  rebel  territory.  But  the  military  jurisdiction  thus  conferred 
by  the  government  did  not  extend  beyond  the  territory  of  the 
rebellious  States,  except  where  the  tide  of  war  actually  swept 
beyond  those  limits,  and  by  its  flaming  presence  made  it  im- 
possible for  the  civil  courts  to  exercise  their  functions.  The 
case  before  your  Honors  comes  under  neither  of  these  condi- 
tions ;  hence,  the  laws  of  war  are  inapplicable  to  it. 

The  military  commission,  under  our  government,  is  of  recent 
origin.  It  was  instituted  by  General  Scott,  in  Mexico,  to  enable 
him,  in  the  absence  of  any  civil  authority,  to  punish  Mexican 
and  American  citizens  for  offences  not  provided  for  in  the  Rules 
and  Articles  of  War.  The  purpose  and  character  of  a  military 
commission  may  be  seen  from  his  celebrated  Order  No.  20,  pub- 
lished at  Tampico.  It  was  no  tribunal  with  authority  to  punish, 
but  merely  a  committee  appointed  to  examine  an  offender  and 
advise  the  commanding  general  what  punishment  to  inflict. 
It  is  a  rude  substitute  for  a  court  of  justice  in  the  absence  of 
civil  law. 

Even  our  own  military  authorities,  who  have  given  so  much 
prominence  to  these  commissions,  do  not  claim  for  them  the 
character  of  tribunals  established  by  law.  The  Judge  Advocate 
General  says:    **  Military  commissions  have  grown  out  of  the 


necessities  of  the  service,  but  their  powers  have  not  been  de- 
fined, nor  their  mode  of  proceeding  regulated  by  any  statute 

law In  a  military  department  the  military  commission 

is  a  substitute  for  the  ordinary  State  or  United  States  court, 
when  the  latter  is  closed  by  the  exigencies  of  war,  or  is  without  the 
jurisdiction  of  the  offence  committed."  ^ 

The  only  ground  on  which  the  learned  counsel  attempt  to 
establish  the  authority  of  the  military  commission  to  try  these 
petitioners  is  that  of  the  necessity  of  the  case.  I  answer,  there 
was  no  such  necessity.  Neither  the  Constitution  nor  Congress 
recognized  it.  I  point  to  the  Constitution  as  an  arsenal  stored 
with  ample  powers  to  meet  every  emergency  of  national  life. 
No  higher  test  of  its  completeness  can  be  imagined  than  has 
been  afforded  by  the  great  Rebellion,  which  dissolved  the  mu- 
nicipal governments  of  eleven  States,  and  consolidated  them 
into  a  gigantic  traitorous  government  de  facto,  inspired  with  the 
desperate  purpose  of  destroying  the  government  of  the  United 

From  the  beginning  of  the  Rebellion  to  its  close,  Congress,  by 
its  legislation,  kept  pace  with  the  necessities  of  the  nation.  In 
sixteen  carefully  considered  laws,  the  national  legislature  under- 
took to  provide  for  every  contingency,  and  to  arm  the  Execu- 
tive at  every  point  with  the  solemn  sanction  of  law.  Observe 
how  perfectly  the  case  of  the  petitioners  was  covered  by  the 
provisions  of  law. 

The  first  charge  against  them  was  "  conspiracy  against  the 
government  of  the  United  States."  In  the  act  approved  July 
31,  1 86 1,  that  very  crime  was  fully  defined,  and  placed  within 
the  jurisdiction  of  the  District  and  Circuit  Courts  of  the  United 

Charge  2 :  "  Affording  aid  and  comfort  to  rebels  against  the 
government  of  the  United  States."  In  the  act  approved  July 
17,  1862,  this  crime  is  set  forth  in  the  very  words  of  the  charge, 
and  it  is  provided  that  "  such  person  shall  be  punished  by  im- 
prisonment for  a  period  not  exceeding  ten  years ;  or  by  a  fine 
not  exceeding  ten  thousand  dollars,  and  by  the  liberation  of  all 
his  slaves,  if  any  he  have;  or  by  both  of  said  punishments,  at 
the  discretion  of  the  court." 

Charge  3:  "Inciting  insurrection."  In  Brightly's  Digest ^ 
there  is  compiled  from  ten  separate  acts  a  chapter  of  sixty-four 

1  Digest  of  Opinions  for  1866,  pp.  131,  133.  2  Vol.  II.  pp.  191-202. 


sections  on  insurrection,  setting  forth,  in  the  fullest  manner  pos- 
sible, every  mode  by  which  citizens  may  aid  in  insurrection,  and 
providing  for  their  trial  and  punishment  by  the  regularly  or- 
dained courts  of  the  United  States. 

Charge  4:  "  Disloyal  practices."  The  meanjng  of  this  charge 
can  only  be  found  in  the  specifications  under  it,  which  consist 
in  discouraging  enlistments  and  making  preparations  to  resist  a 
draft  designed  to  increase  the  army  of  the  United  States.  These 
offences  are  fully  defined  in  the  thirty-third  section  of  the  act 
of  March  3,  1863,  "  for  Enrolling  and  Calling  out  the  National 
Forces,"  and  in  the  twelfth  section  of  the  act  of  February  24, 
1864,  amendatory  thereof.  The  provost-marshal  is  authorized 
to  arrest  such  offenders,  but  he  must  deliver  them  over  for  trial 
to  the  civil  authorities.  Their  trial  and  punishment  are  ex- 
pressly placed  in  the  jurisdiction  of  the  District  and  Circuit 
Courts  of  the  United  States. 

Charge  5  :  **  Violations  of  the  laws  of  war,"  —  which,  according 
to  the  specifications,  consisted  of  an  attempt,  through  a  secret 
organization,  to  give  aid  and  comfort  to  rebels.  This  crime  is 
amply  provided  for  in  the  laws  referred  to  in  relation  to  the 
second  charge.  But  Congress  did  far  more  than  to  provide  for 
a  case  like  this.  Throughout  the  eleven  rebellious  States  it 
clothed  the  military  department  with  supreme  power  and  au- 
thority. State  constitutions  and  laws,  the  decrees  and  edicts  of 
courts,  were  all  superseded  by  the  laws  of  war.  Even  in  States 
not  in  rebellion,  but  where  treason  had  a  foothold,  and  hostile 
collisions  were  likely  to  occur.  Congress  authorized  the  suspen- 
sion of  the  writ  of  habeas  corpus,  and  directed  the  army  to  keep 
the  peace. 

But  Congress  went  further  still,  and  authorized  the  President, 
during  the  Rebellion,  whenever,  in  his  judgment,  the  public 
safety  should  require  it,  to  suspend  the  privilege  of  the  writ  of 
Jiahcas  corpus  in  any  State  or  Territory  of  the  United  States,  and 
order  the  arrest  of  any  persons  whom  he  might  believe  danger- 
ous to  the  safety  of  the  republic,  and  hold  them  till  the  civil 
authorities  could  examine  into  the  nature  of  their  crimes.  But 
this  act  of  March  3,  1863,  gave  no  authority  to  try  the  person 
by  any  military  tribunal,  and  it  commanded  judges  of  the  Cir- 
cuit and  District  Courts  of  the  United  States,  whenever  the 
grand  jury  had  adjourned  its  sessions,  and  found  no  indictment 
against  such  persons,  to  order  their  immediate  discharge  from 


arrest.  All  these  capacious  powers  were  conferred  upon  the 
military  department,  but  there  is  no  law  on  the  statute-book  in 
which  the  tribunal  that  tried  the  petitioners  can  find  the  least 

I  wish  to  call  the  attention  of  your  Honors  to  a  circumstance 
showing  the  sentiment  on  this  subject  of  the  House  of  Repre- 
sentatives of  the  Thirty-eighth  Congress.  Near  the  close  of  that 
Congress,  when  the  Miscellaneous  Appropriation  Bill,  which  au- 
thorized the  disbursement  of  several  millions  of  dollars  for  the 
civil  expenditures  of  the  government,  was  under  discussion,  the 
House  of  Representatives,  having  observed  with  alarm  the  grow- 
ing tendency  to  break  down  the  barriers  of  law,  and  desiring  to 
protect  the  rights  of  citizens  as  well  as  to  preserve  the  Union, 
added  to  the  appropriation  bill  the  following  section:  ^^  And 
be  it  further  enacted,  That  no  person  shall  be  tried  by  court- 
martial  or  military  commission  in  any  State  or  Territory  where 
the  courts  of  the  United  States  are  open,  except  persons  actually 
mustered  or  commissioned  or  appointed  in  the  military  or  naval 
service  of  the  United  States,  or  rebel  enemies  charged  with  being 

The  Section  was  debated  at  length  in  the  Senate,  and,  although 
almost  every  Senator  acknowledged  its  justice,  yet,  as  the  nation 
was  then  in  the  very  mid-whirl  and  fury  of  the  war,  it  was  feared 
that  the  Executive  might  thereby  be  crippled,  and  the  section 
was  stricken  out.  The  bill  came  back  to  the  House ;  conferences 
were  held  upon  it,  and  finally,  in  the  last  hour  of  the  session,  the 
House  deliberately  determined  that,  important  as  the  bill  was  to 
the  interests  of  the  country,  they  preferred  it  should  not  become 
a  law  if  that  section  were  stricken  out.  I  beg  leave  to  read  some 
passages  from  the  remarks  of  one  of  the  noblest,  ablest,  and 
most  patriotic  men  that  have  honored  this  nation  during  the 
war,  —  that  great  man,  so  lately  taken  from  us,  Henry  Winter 
Davis,  of  Maryland.  After  reporting  the  provisions  of  the  bill 
agreed  upon  by  the  committee  of  conference,  he  said  :  — 

"  Under  these  circumstances  it  remained  for  a  majority  of  the  House 
committee  to  determine  between  the  great  result  of  losing  an  important 
appropriation  bill,  or,  after  having  raised  a  question  of  this  magnitude, 
touching  so  nearly  the  right  of  every  citizen  to  his  personal  liberty  and 
the  very  endurance  of  republican  institutions,  and  to  insure  its  prompt 
consideration  fastened  it  on  an  appropriation  bill,  to  allow  it  to  be  stricken 
out  of  the  bill  as  a  matter  of  secondary  importance.     The  committee 


thought  that  their  duty  to  their  constituents,  to  the  House,  and  to  them- 
selves, would  not  allow  them  to  provide  for  any  pecuniary  appropriations 
at  the  expense  of  so  grave  a  reflection  upon  the  fundamental  principles 
of  the  government 

"  The  practice  of  the  government  has  introduced  into  the  jurispnidencc 
of  the  United  States  principles  unknown  to  the  laws  of  the  United  States, 
loosely  described  under  the  general  term  of  the  rules  and  usages  of  icuir, 
and  new  crimes,  defined  by  no  law,  called  *  military  offences  * ;  and  with- 
out the  authority  of  any  statute,  constitutional  or  unconstitutional,  and 
pointing  these  laws  —  confined  by  the  usage  of  the  world  to  enemies 
in  enemies'  territory  —  against  our  own  citizens  in  our  own  territory,  has 
repeatedly  deprived  many  citizens  of  the  United  States  of  tlieir  lil)erty, 
has  condemned  many  to  death,  who  have  only  been  redeemed  from 
that  extreme  penalty  by  the  kindness  of  the  President's  heart,  and  aided 
doubdess  by  the  serious  scruples  he  cannot  but  feel  touching  the  legality 
of  the  judgment  that  assigned  them  to  death. 

"  There  have  been  many  cases  in  which  judgments  of  confinement  in 
the  penitentiary  have  been  inflicted  for  acts  not  punishable,  either  under 
the  usages  of  war  or  under  any  statute  of  the  United  States,  by  any  mili- 
tary tribunal ;  crimes  for  which  the  laws  of  the  United  States  prescribe 
the  punishment  have  been  visited  with  other  and  severer  punishments  by 
mUitary  tribunals ;  violations  of  contract  with  the  government,  real  or  im- 
puted, have  been  construed  by  these  tribunals  into  frauds,  and  punished 
as  crimes ;  excessive  bail  has  been  demanded,  and  when  furnished  im- 
pudently refused  ;  and  the  attempt  of  Congress  to  discriminate  between 
crimes  committed  by  persons  in  the  military  forces  and  citizens  not  in 
those  forces,  has  been  annulled,  and  the  very  oficnccs  it  specifically  re- 
quired to  be  tried  before  the  courts  of  the  United  States  have  been  tried 
before  military  tribunals  dependent  upon  the  will  of  the  President 

"  The  committee  remember  that  such  things  are  inconsistent  with  tiie 
endurance  of  republican  government.  The  party  which  tolerates  or 
defends  them  must  destroy  itself  or  the  republic.  They  felt  they  had 
reached  a  point  at  which  a  vote  must  be  cast  which  may  break  up  j)oliti- 
cal  parties,  or,  if  it  do  not,  will  break  up  or  save  a  great  republican 
government.  Before  these  alternatives  they  could  not  hesitate.  They 
thought  it  best,  now,  at  this  time,  to  leave  this  law  standing  as  a  broken 
dike  in  the  midst  of  the  rising  flood  of  lawless  power  around  us,  to  show 
to  this  generation  how  high  that  flood  of  lawless  power  has  risen  in  only 
three  years  of  civil  war,  as  a  warning  to  those  who  arc  to  come  after  us, 
as  an  awakening  to  those  who  are  now  with  us. 

"They  have,  therefore,  come  to  the  determination,  so  far  as  the  con- 
stitudonal  pri\ilcges  and  prerogatives  of  this  House  will  enable  them  to 
accomplish  the  result,  that  this  bill  shall  not  Ixjcome  a  law  if  these  words 
do  not  stand  as  a  part  of  it,  —  the  affirmation  by  the  representatives  of 

VOL.   I.  13 



the  States  and  of  the  people  of  the  inalienable  birthright  of  every  Ameri- 
can citizen ;  and  on  that  question  they  appeal  from  the  judgment  of  the 
Senate  to  the  judgment  of  the  American  people." ' 

The  appeal  was  taken ;  the  bill  failed ;  and  the  record  of  its 
failure  is  an  emphatic  declaration  that  the  House  of  Represent- 
atives have  never  consented  to  the  establishment  of  any  tribu- 
nals except  those  authorized  by  the  Constitution  of  the  United 
States  and  the  laws  of  Congress. 

There  was  one  point,  suggested  rather  than  insisted  upon  by 
the  opposing  counsel,  which  it  requires  but  little  more  than 
a  statement  to  answer.     In  their  brief,  the  learned  gentlemen 
say  that,  if  the  military  tribunal  had  no  jurisdiction,  the  peti- 
tioners may  be  held  as  prisoners  captured  in  war,  and  handed 
over  by  the  military  to  the  civil   authorities,  to  be  tried  for 
their  crimes  under  the  acts  of  Congress,  and  before  the  courts 
of  the  United  States.      The  answer  to  this  is,  that  the  peti- 
tioners were  never  enlisted,  commissioned,  or  mustered  in  the 
service  of  the  Confederacy ;  nor  had  they  been  within  the  Rebel 
lines,  or  within  any  theatre  of  active  military  operations ;   nor 
had  they  been  in  any  way  recognized  by  the   Rebel   authori- 
ties as  in  their  service.     They  could  not  have  been  exchanged 
as  prisoners  of  war ;   nor,  if  all  the  charges  against  them  were 
true,  could  they  be  brought  under  the  legal  definitioo  of  spies. 
There  appears  to  be  no  ground  whatever  for  calling  them  pris- 
oners of  war.     The  suggestion  of  our  opponents,  that  the  peti- 
tioners should  be  handed  over  to  the  civil  authorities  for  trial, 
is  precisely  what  they  petitioned  for,  and  what,  according  to 
the  laws  of  Congress,  should  have  been  done.     We  do  not  ask 
that  they  shall  be  shielded  from  any  lawful   punishment,  but 
that  they  shall  not  be  unlawfully  punished,  as  they  now  are,  by 
the  sentence  of  a  tribunal  which  had  no  jurisdiction  over  cither 
their  persons  or  the  subject-matter  of  the  charges. 

The  only  color  of  authority  for  such  a  trial  was  found  in  the 
President's  proclamation  of  September  24th,  1862,  which  was 
substantially  annulled  by  the  Habeas  Corpus  Act  of  March  3d, 
1863,  and  the  subsequent  Presidential  proclamation  of  Septem- 
ber iSth,  1863.  By  these  acts,  the  military  authority  could 
only  arrest  and  hold  disaffected  persons  till  after  a  session  of 
the  United  States  District  Court. 

May  it  please  the  court,  I  have  thus  reviewed  the  principles 

*  Congressional  Globe,  March  3,  1865,  pp.  1421,  1422. 


upon  which  our  government  was  founded,  the  practice  of  the 
fathers  who  founded  it,  and  the  almost  unanimous  sentiment  of 
its  presidents,  congresses,  and  courts. 

I  have  shown  that  Congress  undertook  to  provide  for  all  the 
nece^ities  which  the  Rebellion  imposed  upon  the  nation ;  that  it 
provided  for  the  trial  of  every  crime  imputed  to  the  petitioners, 
and  pointed  out  expressly  the  mode  of  punishment.  There  is 
not  a  single  charge  or  specification  in  the  petition  before  you,  — 
not  a  single  allegation  of  crime,  —  that  is  not  expressly  pro- 
vided for  in  the  laws  of  the  United  States ;  and  the  courts  arc 
designated  before  which  such  offenders  may  be  tried.  These 
courts  were  open  during  the  trial,  and  had  never  been  disturbed 
by  the  Rebellion.  The  military  Commission  on  the  tenth  day 
of  its  session  withdrew  from  the  room  where  it  had  been  sitting, 
that  the  Circuit  Court  of  the  United  States  might  hold  its  regu- 
lar term  in  its  own  chamber.  For  the  next  ten  days  the  Commis- 
sion occupied,  by  permission,  the  chamber  of  the  Supreme  Court 
of  the  State  of  Indfana,  but  removed  to  another  hall  when  the 
regular  term  of  that  court  began.  This  military  Commission  sat 
at  a  place  two  hundred  miles  beyond  the  sound  of  a  hostile  gun, 
in  a  State  that  had  never  felt  the  touch  of  martial  law, — that  had 
never  been  defiled  by  the  tread  of  a  hostile  Rebel  foot,  except 
on  a  remote  border,  and  then  but  for  a  day.  That  State,  with  all 
its  laws  and  courts,  with  all  its  securities  of  personal  rights  and 
privileges,  is  declared  by  the  opposing  counsel  to  have  been  com- 
pletely and  absolutely  under  the  control  of  martial  law;  that  not 
only  the  Constitution  and  laws  of  Indiana,  but  the  Constitution 
and  laws  of  the  United  States,  were  wholly  suspended,  so  that 
no  writ,  injunction,  prohibition,  or  mandate  of  any  District  or 
Circuit  Court  of  the  United  States,  or  even  of  this  august  tribu- 
nal, was  of  any  binding  force  or  authority  whatever,  except  by 
the  permission  and  at  the  pleasure  of  a  military  commander. 

Such  a  doctrine,  may  it  please  the  court,  is  too  monstrous  to 
be  tolerated  for  a  moment;  and  I  trust  and  believe  that,  when 
this  cause  shall  have  been  heard  and  considered,  it  will  receive 
its  just  and  final  condemnation.  Your  decision  will  mark  an  era 
in  American  history.  The  just  and  final  settlement  of  this  great 
question  will  take  a  high  place  among  the  great  achievements 
which  have  immortalized  this  decade.  It  will  establish  forever 
this  truth,  of  inestimable  value  to  us  and  to  mankind,  that  a 
republic  can  wield  the  vast  enginery  of  war  without  breaking 


down  the  safeguards  of  liberty;  can  suppress  insurrection,  and 
put  down  rebellion,  however  formidable,  without  destroying  the 
bulwarks  of  law;  can,  by  the  might  of  its  armed  millions,  pre- 
serve and  defend  both  nationality  and  liberty.  Victories  on  the 
field  were  of  priceless  value,  for  they  plucked  the  life  of  tjie  re- 
public out  of  the  hands  of  its  enemies ;  but 

*•  Peace  hath  her  victories 
No  less  renowned  than  war,** 

and  if  the  protection  of  law  shall,  by  your  decision,  be  extended 
over  every  acre  of  our  peaceful  territory,  you  will  have  rendered 
the  great  decision  of  the  century. 

When  Pericles  had  made  Greece  immortal  in  arts  and  arms, 
in  liberty  and  law,  he  invoked  the  genius  of  Phidias  to  devise  a 
monument  which  should  symbolize  the  beauty  and  glory  of 
Athens.  That  artist  selected  for  his  theme  the  tutelar  divinity 
of  Athens,  the  Jove-born  goddess,  protectress  of  arts  and  arms, 
of  industry  and  law,  who  typified  the  Greek  conception  of  com- 
posed, majestic,  unrelenting  force.  He  erected  on  the  heights 
of  the  Acropolis  a  colossal  statue  of  Minerva,  armed  with  spear 
and  helmet,  which  towered  in  awful  majesty  above  the  sur- 
rounding temples  of  the  gods.  Sailors  on  far-off  ships  beheld 
the  crest  and  spear  of  the  goddess,  and  bowed  with  reverent 
awe.  To  every  Greek  she  was  the  symbol  of  power  and  glory. 
But  the  Acropolis,  with  its  temples  and  statues,  is  now  a  heap 
of  ruins.  The  visible  gods  have  vanished  in  the  clearer  light  of 
modern  civilization.  We  cannot  restore  the  decayed  emblems 
of  ancient  Greece ;  but  it  is  in  your  power,  O  Judges,  to  erect 
in  this  citadel  of  our  liberties  a  monument  more  lasting  than 
brass,  —  invisible  indeed  to  the  eye  of  flesh,  but  visible  to  the 
eye  of  the  spirit  as  the  awful  form  and  figure  of  Justice,  crown- 
ing and  adorning  the  republic ;  rising  above  the  storms  of  polit- 
ical strife,  above  the  din  of  battle,  above  the  earthquake  shock 
of  rebellion;  seen  from  afar,  and  hailed  as  protector  by  the 
oppressed  of  all  nations ;  dispensing  equal  blessings,  and  cover- 
ing with  the  protecting  shield  of  law  the  weakest,  the  humblest, 
the  meanest,  and,  until  declared  by  solemn  law  unworthy  of 
protection,  the  guiltiest  of  its  citizens. 

At  the,  second  session  of  the  Thirty-eighth  Congress,  a  resolution  was 
adopted,  directing  the  Military  Committee  to  "  inquire  and  report  to  the 
House  what  legislation  or  action,  if  any,  is  necessary  to  secure  to  persons 


arrested  and  imprisoned  by  military  authority  a  prompt  examination  into 
the  causes  of  the  arrest,  and  their  discharge  if  there  be  no  adequate 
cause  for  their  detention,  and  a  speedy  trial  where  there  is  such  cause.'* 
Upon  a  motion  to  reconsider  this  resolution,  January  i8,  1865,  M^"- 
Garfield  said :  — 

I  WISH  to  make  two  observations.  First  of  all,  I  agree  with 
what  the  gentleman  from  Maryland  ^  has  just  said;  and  in  illus- 
tration of  what  I  desire  to  say,  I  call  attention  to  a  bill  that 
passed  the  House  last  session,  but  did  not  pass  the  Senate,  and 
which,  in  my  judgment,  is  vitally  important  as  a  means  to  pre- 
serve the  independence  of  the  officers  of  our  armies.  Early  in 
the  war,  it  will  be  remembered,  Congress,  for  good  reasons, 
gave  to  the  President  the  power  of  summary  dismissal  when  he 
believed  the  public  service  would  be  subserved  thereby.  At 
that  time  the  army  was  full  of  traitors,  and  it  was  necessary  that 
by  a  more  summary  process  than  court-martial  they  should  be 
driven  out 

But  it  was  thought  last  winter  by  the  House  of  Representa- 
tives, that  the  danger  had  so  far  passed  that  we  might  safely 
repeal  the  law.  Important  as  that  law  has  been  in  some  re- 
spects,—  and  none  will  doubt  its  value  and  necessity  at  the  time 
of  its  enactment,  —  I  am  satisfied  that  in  other  respects  it  has 
had  a  very  unfortunate  influence.  It  has  gone  very  far  toward 
weakening  the  manliness  and  independence  of  the  officers  in  the 
army.  If,  sir,  I  am  in  the  army,  and  know  that  my  superior 
officer  can  make  such  representations  as  will  cause  me  to  be 
dismissed  without  a  hearing  and  without  a  trial,  how  strong  is 
the  tendency  of  that  knowledge  to  make  me  a  timid,  subservient 
tool !  The  whole  tendency  of  it  is  to  take  away  the  personal 
independence  and  manliness  of  the  subordinate  officer,  because 
he  has  no  guard  for  his  standing  and  position  except  the  favor 
of  his  superior,  —  no  right  to  demand,  as  the  American  officer 
always  had  in  former  times,  that  he  should  be  speedily  and 
fairly  tried  by  a  jury  of  his  peers.  For  this  reason  we  passed 
a  bill  last  winter,  by  a  very  large  majority,  —  almost  unani- 
mously, I  believe,  —  to  repeal  the  law  giving  this  power  to  the 
President.  That  bill  is  dying  a  lingering  death  at  the  other 
end  of  the  Capitol.     I  believe  that  the  bill  ought  to  become 

a  law. 

I  desire,  in  the  second  place,  to  call  attention  to  the  fact  that 

it  is  now  the  law,  and  has  been  since  the  foundation  of  our  gov- 

1  Mr.  Davis. 


ernment,  that  when  an  officer  of  the  army  is  arrested  for  any- 
supposed  crime  or  misdemeanor,  he  shall  be  held  in  arrest  —  it 
may  be  in  close  confinement  and  under  guard,  according  to  the 
enormity  of  the  supposed  offence  —  no  longer  than  eight  days 
without  being  furnished  with  a  copy  of  the  charges  against  him. 
The  law  also  allows  him  a  speedy  trial. 

Now,  without  trenching  upon  the  business  in  which  the  Com- 
mittee on  Military  Affairs  was  engaged  this  morning,  I  will  say 
that  one  officer  at  least  has  been  in  confinement  for  five  months 
within  sight  of  this  Capitol.  Both  he  and  his  keeper  declare 
that  he  has-  not  been  furnished  with  a  copy  of  the  charges 
against  him.  He  says  tliat  he  has  again  and  again  demanded 
in  vain  to  know  with  what  crime  he  was  charged.  He  is  a  man 
who  bears  upon  his  person  honorable  scars  received  in  the  ser- 
vice of  his  country ;  he  is  a  colonel ;  and  the  vengeance  of  some 
one  fell  upon  him,  like  a  bolt  from  a  clear  sky.  He  declares 
that  he  knows  no  reason  for  it  and  can  learn  none.  An  agent 
of  the  War  Department,  an  officer  unknown  to  the  laws  and 
Constitution  of  the  country,  lays  his  hand  upon  a  man,  puts 
him  in  prison,  where  he  is  kept  until  said  agent,  or  some  power 
above  him,  is  pleased  to  release  him.  There  are  plenty  of  al- 
leged cases  where  officers  and  citizens,  after  being  confined  for 
a  long  period,  have  been  allowed  to  go  out  without  a  word  of 
explanation  concerning  either  the  arrest  or  the  discharge. 

I  ask  the  House  of  Representatives  whether  that  kind  of  prac- 
tice is  to  grow  up  under  this  government,  and  no  man  is  to  raise 
his  voice  against  it,  or  make  any  inquiry  concerning  it,  lest 
some  one  should  say  he  is  factious,  unfriendly  to  the  War  De- 
partment, and  opposing  the  Administration.  Gentlemen,  if  we 
are  not  men  in  our  places  here,  let  us  stop  our  ears  to  all  com- 
plaints ;  let  every  department  do  as  it  pleases ;  and  in  meekness 
and  in  silence  let  us  vote  whatever  appropriations  are  asked 
for.  I  do  not  say,  for  I  do  not  know,  that  the  head  of  any 
department  is  responsible  for  these  things,  or  knows  them.  It 
may  be  they  have  been  done  by  subordinates.  It  may  be  the 
heads  of  departments  are  not  cognizant  of  the  facts.  I  make 
no  accusations ;  but  I  do  say,  that  it  is  our  business  to  see  that 
the  laws  be  respected,  and  that  if  a  man  has  no  powerful  friend 
in  court  he  shall  at  least  find  the  Congress  of  the  United  States 
his  friend.     I  hope  the  resolution  will  not  be  reconsidered. 




March  i6,  1866. 

In  the  Thirty-eighth  Congress,  Mr.  Garfield  was  a  member  of  the 
Committee  on  Military  Affairs ;  in  the  Thirty-ninth,  he  was  transferred, 
at  his  own  request,  to  the  Committee  of  Ways  and  Means.  This  transfer 
marks  a  period  in  his  mental  history,  and  in  the  history  of  his  public 
life.  Now  began  his  services  in  the  field  of  economical  discussion  and 
legislation.  "  The  Public  Debt  and  Specie  Payments  "  was  the  first  of 
his  Congressional  speeches  on  this  class  of  subjects.  From  this  time  on, 
he  bore  a  prominent  part  in  the  discussion  of  loans,  banks,  taxation,  tariff, 
paper  money,  and  resumption,  as  these  questions  came  before  Congress 
and  the  country.  As  many  of  these  questions  were  but  phases  of  one 
great  question  —  as  they  grew  out  of  the  same  general  facts  —  it  will  be 
well  here  to  set  those  facts  down  once  for  all :  —  i.  The  enormous  ex- 
penditures of  the  war.  2.  The  imposition  of  heavy  taxation.  3.  The 
creation  of  a  great  public  debt.  4.  The  abandonment  of  specie  pay- 
ments, and  the  issue  by  the  national  Treasury  of  legal-tender  paper 
money.  5.  The  national  banks,  the  creation  of  which  involved  the 
destruction  of  the  old  State  banks  of  issue,  and  the  assertion  of  exclusive 
jurisdiction  over  bank-note  issues  on  the  part  of  the  general  government. 
6.  The  over-issue  and  consequent  depreciation  of  the  currency. 

The  legal-tender  notes  and  the  national  banks  were  new  fiscal  instru- 
ments to  the  American  people.  Of  the  two  acts  creating  them,  the 
Legal  Tender  Act  was  by  far  the  more  radical  and  dangerous  measure. 
It  involved  a  complete  reversal  of  the  national  policy,  since  from  the  day 
that  the  Constitution  went  into  effect  gold  and  silver  had  constituted  the 
sole  tenders  for  debt.  This  reversal  of  policy  was  justified  at  the  time 
by  alleging,  (i.)  That  the  government  could  not  maintain  specie  pay- 
ments through  the  war,  but  must  use  a  cheaper  money ;  and  (2.)  That 
Congress  had  the  constitutional  power,  in  time  of  war,  to  make  paper  a 


legal  tender.  Let  it  be  noted  that  this  power  was  expressly  called  a  war 
power.  Not  only  was  the  power  thus  limited,  but  it  was  held  that,  when 
the  war  was  over,  it  would  be  the  duty  of  the  government  to  return  to 
coin  payments  at  the  earliest  practicable  moment.  The  paper  promises 
of  the  government  —  whether  bonds  or  legal- tender  notes  —  must  then 
be  redeemed  in  coin. 

The  war  over,  the  President,  Secretary  of  the  Treasury,  and  others 
who  remembered  and  respected  the  promises  of  1862  and  1863,  thought 
that  steps  should  immediately  be  taken  in  the  direction  of  resumption. 
March  3,  1865,  an  act  was  approved  which  authorized  the  funding  in 
six-per-cent  gold  bonds  of  the  interest-bearing  obligations  of  the  govern- 
ment. At  the  opening  of  the  next  session,  a  more  decided  step  was 
proposed;  viz.  to  fund  its  non-interest-bearing  obligations.  February  i, 
1866,  a  bill  was  reported  from  the  Committee  of  Ways  and  Means  that, 
after  amendment,  read  thus  :  — 

"  Be  it  enacted  by  the  Senate  and  House  of  Representatives  of  the 
United  States  of  America  in  Congress  assembled,  That  the  act  entitled 
*  An  Act  to  provide  ways  and  means  to  support  the  government,*  ap- 
proved March  3,  1865,  shall  be  extended  and  construed  to  authorize  the 
Secretary  of  the  Treasury,  at  his  discretion,  to  receive  any  Treasury  notes 
or  other  obligations,  issued  under  any  act  of  Congress,  whether  bearing 
interest  or  not,  in  exchange  for  any  description  of  bonds  authorized  by 
the  act  to  which  this  is  an  amendment ;  and  also  to  dispose  of  any  de- 
scription of  bonds  authorized  by  said  act,  either  in  the  United  States  or 
elsewhere,  to  such  an  amount,  in  such  manner,  and  at  such  rates  as  he 
may  think  advisable,  for  lawful  money  of  the  United  States,  or  for  any 
Treasury  notes,  certificates  of  indebtedness,  or  certificates  of  deposit,  or 
other  representatives  of  value,  which  have  been  or  which  may  be  issued 
under  any  act  of  Congress,  the  proceeds  thereof  to  be  used  for  retiring 
Treasury  notes  or  other  obligations  issued  under  any  act  of  Congress ; 
but  nothing  herein  contained  shall  be  construed  to  authorize  any  in- 
crease of  the  public  debt :  Pnnnded^  That  the  act  to  which  this  is  an 
amendment  shall  continue  in  full  force  in  all  its  provisions,  except  as 
modified  by  this  act." 

This  was  a  contractive  measure.  Its  authors  and  defenders  desired  as 
early  a  return  to  specie  payments  as  was  practicable ;  and  they  held  that 
this  end  could  not  be  reached  \vithout  reducing  the  volume  of  the  cur- 
rency. Hence  it  was  a  proposition  to  fund  greenbacks,  as  well  as  to 
provide  for  other  obligations  of  the  government  as  they  should  mature. 
It  was  opposed  on  various  grounds,  but  mainly  because,  as  was  held,  it 
would  disturb  the  business  of  the  country.  Mr.  McCulloch,  Secretary 
of  the  Treasury,  was  known  to  be  a  resumption ist  and  a  contractionist ; 
and  it  was  well  known  that  he  would  use  whatever  power  the  law  gave 
him  to  carry  out  his  ideas.     The  bill  failed  in  the  House,  but  was  re- 


considered  and  recommitted  to  the  Committee  of  Ways  and  Means.  It 
came  back  to  the  House,  with  certain  important  restrictions  and  limita- 
tions. In  the  new  form  the  bill  passed  both  Houses,  and  was  approved, 
April  12, 1866.  This  proviso  was  the  most  important  of  the  new  features 
of  the  bill :  "  Provided^  That  of  United  States  notes  not  more  than  ten 
million  of  dollars  may  be  retired  and  cancelled  within  six  months  from 
the  passage  of  this  act,  and  thereafter  not  more  than  four  million  of 
doll2urs  in  any  one  month." 

"  Of  all  the  contrivances  for  cheating  the  laboring  classes  of  mankind,  none  has  been  more 
effectual  than  that  which  deludes  them  with  [irredeemable]  paper  money."  —  Danisl  Webster. 

MR.  SPEAKER,  —  After  the  long  and  spirited  contest  on 
this  bill,  I  shall  do  little  beyond  making  as  plain  a  state- 
ment as  I  can  of  the  great  financial  problem  now  before  the 
country  for  solution.  The  bill  relates  to  two  leading  points  in 
that  problem,  viz. :  — 

1.  To  our  indebtedness  that  shall  accrue  from  time  to  time  in 
the  course  of  the  next  three  years. 

2.  To  our  currency  and  its  relation  to  the  standard  of  value. 
I  shall  notice  these  in  the  order  that  I  have  named  them. 
Several  gentlemen  have  said,  in  the  progress  of  this  debate, 

that  what  might  have  been  a  very  proper  financial  measure  in 
time  of  war  might  be  a  very  dangerous  and  unnecessary  one 
in  time  of  peace ;  that  the  vast  powers  proposed  to  be  given  to 
the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury  in  this  bill  are  powers  justifiable 
only  in  time  of  great  public  danger,  as  in  the  late  war. 

Now  I  beg  to  remind  gentlemen  that  the  financial  problems 
before  this  country  are  becoming  greater  since  the  war  than 
they  were  during  its  continuance.  In  the  midst  of  the  war, 
when  the  blood  of  the  nation  was  up,  —  when  patriotism  was 
aroused,  and  the  people  were  determined  to  put  down  the 
Rebellion  and  preserve  the  republic  at  all  hazards,  —  when  the 
last  man  and  the  last  dollar  were  oft'ered  a  willing  sacrifice,  —  it 
was  comparatively  easy  to  pass  financial  bills  and  raise  millions 
of  money.  But  now,  when  wc  are  to  gather  up  all  the  pledges 
and  promises  of  four  terrible  years,  and  redeem  them  out  of  the 
solid  resources  of  the  people  in  time  of  peace,  the  problem  is 
far  more  difficult.  To  solve  it  successfully  requires  greater 
exertion,  and  perhaps  even  greater  financial  ability,  than  would 
be  requisite  were  the  war  still  raging. 


What  is  the  amount  of  indebtedness  to  be  met,  and  when 
must  it  be  met?  To  this  question  I  invite  the  careful  and 
earnest  attention  of  the  House.  I  shall  give  the  official  state- 
ment of  the  amount  of  our  total  indebtedness,  and  also  of  that 
portion  soon  to  become  due.  The  amount  of  our  public  debt 
on  the  first  day  of  this  month  was  $2,7ii,850,ocx).  Less  than 
half  of  this  amount  is  funded.  Within  the  next  three  years 
$i,6oo,CX»,CX»  of  this  debt  will  fall  due,  and  will  be  presented 
at  the  counter  of  the  Treasury  Department  for  payment.  That 
payment  must  be  promptly  made,  or  our  paper  goes  to  protest 
and  our  credit  is  broken.  I  hold  in  my  hand  an  official  table 
showing  the  amount  of  our  indebtedness  that  matures  during 
each  half-year  for  the  next  two  years,  from  which,  after  a  word 
of  explanation,  I  will  read. 

There  was  on  the  last  day  of  February,  1 866,  a  portion  of 
our  debt  in  the  form  of  a  temporary  loan  to  the  amount  of 
$ii9»33S>i94-SO>  payable  at  the  option  of  the  lender  after  ten 
days'  notice-  It  would  hardly  be  fair  to  reckon  that  whole 
amount  as  payable  within  the  first  six  months,  yet  as  it  may  be 
called  for  at  any  time,  and  is  to  the  nation  the  least  desirable 
form  of  loan,  it  must  be  added  to  the  statement  of  indebtedness 
soon  to  be  met.  With  this  explanation,  and  supposing  the 
payment  of  this  loan  to  be  demanded  within  the  next  six 
months,  I  call  attention  to  the  facts  exhibited  in  the  table. 

Between  this  and  the  30th  of  June  next,  we  must  pay, 
in  addition  to  the  regular  expenditure  of  the  government, 
$138,674,874.82.  During  the  six  months  ending  December  31, 
1866,  we  must  pay  $47,665,000.  During  the  six  months  ending 
June  30,  1867,  we  must  pay  $8,471,000.  During  the  six  months 
ending  December  31,  1867,  we  must  pay  $350,000,000.  During 
the  six  months  ending  June  30,  1868,  we  must  pay  $369,415,250. 
During  the  six  months  ending  December  31,  1868,  we  must  pay 
$287,564,482.  So  that  between  this  and  the  assembling  of  the 
next  Congress  there  must  be  paid  over  the  counter  of  the 
Treasury,  besides  the  ordinary  expenses  of  the  government, 

I  am  sure  that  every  member  of  this  House  acknowledges 
that  this  is  a  sacred  obligation,  every  dollar  of  which  must  be 
promptly  met  the  day  it  is  due.  I  take  it  for  granted  that  no 
man  here  will  consent  that  a  single  dollar  of  it  shall  go  to  pro- 
test, or  that  any  act  of  this  House  shall  bear  the  least  taint  or 


color  of  repudiation.    We  must,  therefore,  meet  these  obliga- 
tions.    How  can  it  be  done? 

Mr.  Spaulding.  Does  not  this  amount  of  indebtedness  include  the 
seven-thirty  bonds  for  which  the  government  may  issue  five-twenty 

My  colleague  is  correct  Most  of  the  seven-thirty  bonds  are 
included  in  this  amount,  but  they  must  be  redeemed  in  money 
or  five-twenty  bonds  at  the  holder's  option.  The  Secretary  has 
no  power  to  compel  an  exchange. 

As  I  have  already  stated,  there  will  be  presented  for  payment 
in  some  form  before  the  assembling  of  the  Fortieth  Congress 
$1,201,000,000,  in  addition  to  the  ordinary  expenditures  of  the 
government  How  are  these  demands  to  be  met?  With  what 
power  is  the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury  clothed  to  enable  him 
to  meet  this  enormous  obligation? 

There  are  two  clauses  in  the  existing  laws  which  give  him 
some  power. 

The  first  and  chief  is  found  in  the  last  clause  of  the  first  sec- 
tion of  the  act  of  the  3d  of  March,  1865,  which  has  been  so 
ably  discussed  by  my  colleague  on  the  committee.^  He  has 
shown  us  —  and  no  man,  I  believe,  will  venture  to  deny  the 
correctness  of  the  position  —  that  the  clause  gives  the  Sec- 
retary of  the  Treasury  power  merely  to  exchange  one  kind  of 
paper  for  another,  but  only  with  the  consent  of  the  holder.  If 
the  holder  says,  **  I  will  not  take  your  long  bonds,  I  demand 
my  money,"  his  money  he  must  have.  If,  when  the  seven- 
thirty  bond  is  due,  the  state  of  the  market  makes  money  more 
valuable  than  a  six-pcr-cent  bond  for  twenty  years,  the  holder 
will  of  course  demand  money.  He  will  of  course  take  the 
option  most  profitable  to  himself  and  least  advantageous  to  the 

The  other  clause  is  found  in  the  act  of  June  30,  1864. 
The  second  section  of  that  act  allows  the  Secretary  of  the 
Treasury  to  take  up  the  various  kinds  of  paper  representing 
indebtedness,  and  issue  therefor  compound-interest  notes  or 
seven-thirty  bonds.  These  two  descriptions  of  paper  are  of  all 
others  the  most  expensive  for  the  government  to  issue.  I  say, 
then,  concerning  this  power,  it  is  one  that  the  Secretary  ought 
not  to  use.     It  would  be  a  calamity  should  he  be  compelled  to 

^  Mr.  Allison,  of  Iowa. 


use  it.  It  would  be  a  calamity,  in  the  first  place,  were  he 
compelled  to  issue  in  exchange  for  maturing  indebtedness  these 
compound-interest  notes,  for  they  are  the  most  costly  paper 
the  government  can  issue  to  its  creditors,  —  notes  that  are  pay- 
able in  three  years  with  interest  compounded  every  six  months. 
It  is  enough  to  break  the  financial  strength  of  any  nation. 
Again,  by  the  provisions  of  this  act  the  Secretary  may  issue 
seven-thirty  bonds  in  exchange  for  matured  indebtedness. 
They  are  short  bonds.  They  now  fill  the  market  more  than 
any  others,  and  will  be  maturing  after  about  twelve  months.  If 
we  pay  these  out,  it  will  be  only  for  the  purpose  of  taking  up 
others  of  the  same  kind.  Even  this  can  be  done  only  at  the 
option  of  the  holder. 

I  say,  therefore,  that  the  Secretary  is  substantially  limited  in 
his  power  to  these  two  clauses  of  the  law :  one  that  he  ought 
not  to  use,  and  cannot  use  without  great  disadvantage  to  the 
public  credit;  and  the  other  that  he  can  use  only  for  the  pur- 
pose of  an  even  exchange,  and  that,  too,  by  the  consent  of 
the  holders.  Therefore  he  has  but  little  power  or  discretion  in 
funding  the  national  debt.  If  Congress  gives  him  no  more 
power,  the  Treasury  will  be  at  the  mercy  of  the  public  creditors, 
who  may  combine  to  control  the  stock  market,  and  compel  the 
Secretary  to  sacrifice  the  public  credit  to  the  gamblers  of  Wall 
Street.  I  hold  it  demonstrable  that,  if  you  leave  the  Secretary 
of  the  Treasury  where  he  is,  you  abandon  him  to  the  mercy  of 
the  holders  of  the  public  securities,  who,  if  they  please,  can 
utterly  break  him  down,  and  send  the  paper  of  the  government 
to  protest. 

Under  these  circumstances,  it  was  the  duty  of  the  Committee 
of  Ways  and  Means  to  inquire  what  further  power  was  neces- 
sary to  enable  the  Secretary  to  meet  these  obligations  as  they 
mature,  and  put  the  debt  into  the  form  of  long  bonds  at  a  lower 
rate  of  interest  than  we  now  pay.  The  committee  believe  that 
the  bill  now  before  the  House  gives  the  Secretary  no  more 
power  than  is  needful  for  the  accomplishment  of  the  work  be- 
fore him.  With  that  power  the  Secretary  believes  he  can  do 
the  work.     Without  it  he  cannot. 

If  the  plan  now  proposed  be  not  adopted,  it  is  incumbent  upon 
this  House  to  offer  one  that  will  accomplish  the  work.  It  is  not 
enough  that  gentlemen  are  able  to  point  out  defects  in  this  bill, 
and  raise  objections  to  it;  but  it  is  incumbent  upon  them  to 


show  us  a  plan  which  will  acccomplish  the  desired  result  and 
not  be  liable  to  equally  grave  objections. 

Now,  sir,  what  has  been  proposed  as  a  substitute  for  this  bill  ? 
The  distingruished  gentleman  from  Pennsylvania^  has  offered  a 
substitute.  I  hope  no  one  misunderstands  his  purpose.  He  is 
not  only  opposed  to  the  pending  bill,  but  he  is  unwilling  to  give 
the  Secretary  any  additional  power.  He  is  not  only  unwilling 
to  give  the  Secretary  additional  power,  but  he  desires  to  take 
away  much  of  the  power  already  granted.  His  substitute  con- 
sists of  the  committee's  bill,  with  every  vital  provision  cut  out, 
and  the  following  disabling  section  added :  "  Sec.  2.  That  all 
laws  or  parts  of  laws  which  authorize  the  Secretary  of  the  Treas- 
ury to  fund  or  withdraw  from  circulation  any  United  States  legal- 
tender  notes  not  bearing  interest  be,  and  the  same  are  hereby, 
repealed."  If  this  substitute  shall  become  a  law,  I  desire  it  to 
be  remembered  that  the  House  must  take  the  responsibility  of 
the  disastrous  results  which  may  follow.  I  have  undertaken  to 
state  the  first  great  duty  which  rests  upon  the  Secretary  of  the 
Treasury;  namely,  to  meet  the  maturing  indebtedness  of  the 
government.  Before  leaving  the  first  point,  however,  let  me 
say  that  the  committee  have  not  been  willing  to  leave  the  Secre- 
tary merely  the  barren  power  of  exchanging  one  form  of  paper 
for  another,  bond  for  bond,  dollar  for  dollar,  and  that  only  at 
the  option  of  the  holder.  It  is  proposed  in  this  bill  that  he  be 
permitted  to  put  a  loan  on  the  market,  to  sell  bonds  for  money, 
and  with  that  money  redeem  the  old  bonds  as  they  mature. 
Even  if  we  had  no  desire  to  limit  the  volume  of  paper  currency, 
it  would  be  necessary  to  give  him  this  power  for  the  purpose  of 
funding  the  debt. 

But  I  hasten  to  the  consideration  of  the  currency.  I  call 
attention  to  the  fact  that  Congress  has  established  a  policy, 
which  is  now  nearly  four  years  old,  in  reference  to  the  circulat- 
ing medium  of  the  country.  Five  years  ago  there  were  in  the 
United  States  over  sixteen  hundred  banks,  based  on  any  and 
every  kind  of  security,  and  issuing  currency  in  such  amounts 
as  were  authorized  by  the  laws  of  the  various  States.  The  notes 
of  one  bank  were  based  on  real  estate ;  of  another,  on  State 
stock ;  of  another,  on  United  States  stock.  Each  had  its  pecu- 
liar basis,  its  peculiar  kind  of  currency,  and  regulated  the  amount 
of  its  circulation  according  to  its  own  rules  and  opinions.     Six- 

1  Mr.  Stevens. 


teen  hundred  independent  corporations  were  tinkering  at  the  cur- 
rency. The  result  was,  that  a  paper  dollar  in  Ohio,  though  worth 
one  hundred  cents  in  gold  at  home,  would  pass  for  only  ninety 
or  ninety-five  cents  in  California  or  Massachusetts.  A  Massa- 
chusetts dollar  would  fare  equally  hard  in  California.  A  paper 
dollar  was  worth  its  face  in  gold  only  in  the  immediate  locality 
of  its  issue. 

In  the  progress  of  the  war  against  the  rebellion,  there  was 
adopted  a  system  of  national  banks  based  on  a  uniform  security, 
—  the  bonds  of  the  United  States,  —  so  that  a  paper  dollar  is- 
sued in  Ohio  is  worth  no  less  when  it  reaches  Massachusetts. 
It  was  not,  however,  thought  prudent  by  the  Thirty-seventh  and 
Thirty-eighth  Congresses  to  make  the  United  States  govern- 
ment a  banker  for  the  people,  with  arbitrary  power  to  regulate 
the  currency  as  it  pleased.  It  was  thought  to  be  dangerous  to 
repeat  the  history  of  the  United  States  Bank  of  thirty  years  ago ; 
and  therefore  it  was  resolved  that  a  national  bank  system,  based 
on  the  bonds  of  the  United  States,  and  regulated  by  the  ne- 
cessities of  trade,  should  be  the  established  policy  of  the  gov- 
ernment. The  greenback  currency  was  issued  only  as  a  war 
measure,  to  last  during  the  necessities  of  the  war,  then  to  be 
withdrawn,  and  give  place  to  the  national  bank  currency. 

The  war  is  now  ended ;  and  unless  we  mean  to  abolish  the 
national  bank  system,  and  make  the  government  itself  a  per- 
manent banker,  we  must  retire  from  the  banking  business,  and 
give  place  to  the  system  already  adopted.  Unless  gentlemen 
are  now  ready  to  abandon  entirely  the  national  bank  system, 
they  must  consent  that  ultimately  the  greenback  circulation 
shall  be  withdrawn,  and  that  the  notes  of  the  national  banks 
shall  furnish  a  paper  currency  which,  together  with  gold,  shall 
constitute  the  circulating  medium  of  the  country.  The  com- 
mittee have  proceeded  on  the  belief  that  the  national  bank  sys- 
tem is  to  be  the  permanent  system  of  this  country,  and  that  the 
greenback  circulation  was  only  incidental  to  the  necessities  of 
war,  and  that  with  the  removal  of  these  necessities  it  was  to  be 

Shall  we  return  to  specie  payments?  and  if  so,  when  and 
how?  The  President,  in  his  late  annual  message,  has  expressed 
clearly  and  determinedly  the  purpose  of  the  executive  depart- 
ment of  the  government  td  return  at  the  earliest  practicable 
moment  to  the  solid  basis  of  gold  and  silver.     The  Secretary  of 


thq  Treasury  in  his  report  sets  forth,  with  very  great  clear- 
ness and  ability,  the  importance  of  an  early  return  to  specie 
payments.  And  this  House,  on  the  i8th  of  December  last, 
with  but  six  dissenting  votes,  not  only  declared  itself  in  favor 
of  returning  as  speedily  as  practicable  to  a  specie  basis,  but 
also  declared  that  the  currency  must  be  contracted  as  a  means 
of  resumption. 

Now,  how  shall  this  be  accomplished  ?  By  what  lever  can  the 
financial  machinery  be  so  moved  as  to  effect  the  object  so  much 
desired  by  every  department  of  the  government?  I  answer, 
that  the  only  lever  in  our  hands  strong  enough  to  lift  the  burden 
and  overcome  every  obstacle  is  our  power  over  the  greenback 
and  fractional  currency.  In  the  first  place,  they  constitute 
$450,000,000  of  the  volume  of  the  currency.  In  the  second 
place,  they  underlie  the  national  bank  system,  and  constitute 
the  reserves  required  by  law. 

It  has  been  said  in  this  debate,  that  the  circulation  is  not 
redundant;  that  we  have  now  no  more  paper  money  than  the 
business  of  the  country  requires;  that  the  rate  of  interest  is 
high,  the  money  market  stringent,  and  prices  greatly  advanced. 
I  hold  it  demonstrable  that  our  redundant  currency  is  the  chief 
cause  of  the  high  prices  and  the  stringent  money  market. 

I  know  that  figures  are  not  always  the  best  index  of  the  finan- 
cial situation.  If  they  were,  I  might  show  that  less  than  three 
hundred  million  dollars  furnished  the  circulation  of  this  country 
before  the  war,  and  that  now  we  have  more  than  a  tliousanrl 
million.  I  need  only  refer  to  the  hornbooks  of  financial  sci- 
ence to  show  that  the  only  sure  test  of  the  redundancy  of  paj)cr 
money  is  its  convertibility  into  coin  at  the  will  of  the  holder, 
and  that  its  redundancy  will  inevitably  increase  prices.  On  the 
latter  proposition  I  will  read  a  sentence  from  the  highest  livin^j 
authority  in  political  economy,  John  Stuart  Mill:  **  That  an  in- 
crease of  the  quantity  of  money  raises  prices,  and  a  diminution 
lowers  them,  is  the  most  elementary  proposition  in  the  theory 
of  currency,  and  without  it  we  should  have  no  key  to  any  of 
the  others."  * 

Mjl  Prjce.  I  want  to  ask  the  gentleman  from  Ohio  whether  there  is 
any  more  ojrrency  in  circulation  now  than  six  months  ago.  In  short,  I 
want  to  know  whether  there  has  not  been  more  currency  in  circubfion 
every  day  of  the  week,  and  ever>'  week  of  the  month,  for  the  last  six 

>  Political  Economy,  Vol-  II   p.  i5  /Boston,  1843^. 


months,  —  and  has  it  not  been  increasing?  I  want  to  know  whether 
it  is  not  equally  true,  that  gold  has  been  coming  down  steadily,  certainly, 
gradually,  surely ;  and  not  only  that,  but  that  the  commodities  of  trade 
and  commerce  have  come  down  in  the  same  ratio.  Yet  the  currency 
has  been  increasing,  strange  as  it  may  seem.  And  the  gentleman  need 
not  go  back  to  the  hornbooks  to  find  out  these  facts.  They  stare  us  in 
the  face  every  day.  It  cannot  be  denied  that,  while  the  currency  has 
been  increasing,  gold  has  been  going  down. 

A  paragraph  from  the  Merchants'  Magazine  for  January  last 
will  perfectly  answer  the  gentleman's  question.  It  is  to  this 
effect:  the  President's  Message  raised  government  securities 
at  home  and  abroad,  and  depressed  gold.  The  report  of  the 
Secretary  of  the  Treasury  accomplished  still  more.  The  very 
announcement  of  the  policy  of  resumption  has  checked  gold 
and  stock  gambling  and  brought  down  prices.  That  historical 
fact  is  a  complete  answer  to  the  gentleman's  question.  Besides, 
sir,  it  must  be  remembered  that  six  hundred  millions  of  Rebel 
currency  collapsed  and  disappeared  on  the  day  the  so-called 
Southern  Confederacy  collapsed,  and  thus  left  a  vacuum  into 
which  our  currency  has  since  been  flowing. 

I  call  attention,  because  the  gentleman  from  Pennsylvania^ 
has  referred  to  it,  to  a  remarkable  example  in  British  finan- 
cial history.  I  have  never  seen  a  more  perfect  illustration  of 
the  truth  that  history  repeats  itself,  than  this  debate  as  com- 
pared with  the  debate  in  the  British  Parliament  during  their 
great  struggle  for  a  return  to  specie  payments  after  the  war 
against  Napoleon.  From  1797  to  1819  the  British  people  had 
only  a  paper  circulation,  and,  as  is  always  the  case,  the  poorer 
currency  drove  out  the  better.  As  respectable  people  leave 
that  portion  of  a  city  in  which  disreputable  people  settle,  so 
gold  retires  before  an  irredeemable  paper  currency.  If  our 
customs  and  the  interest  on  our  public  debt  had  not  been  made 
payable  in  coin,  gold  would  have  disappeared  from  the  country. 
In  England,  when  they  had  no  gold  in  circulation,  when  prices 
had  risen,  when  rents  had  risen,  after  stocks  had  fallen,  English- 
men did  what  we  are  now  attempting  to  do. 

In  1 810  a  committee  of  the  ablest  financiers  and  statesmen 
was  ordered  to  report  the  cause  of  high  prices  and  the  premium 
upon  gold,  and  after  a  laborious  investigation,  during  which  the 
most  distinguished  men  were  called  in  as  witnesses,  that  most 

^  Mr.  Stevens. 


able  paper,  the  Bullion  Report,  was  submitted  to  Parliament. 
In  that  report  the  principle  was  enunciated  that  the  only  true 
test  of  the  redundancy  of  currency  is  its  comparison  in  value 
with  gold;  that  whenever  a  paper  dollar  is  not  exchangeable 
for  a  gold  dollar,  it  is  proof  that  there  are  too  many  paper  dol- 
lars; and  there  can  be  no  surer  test.  In  the  report  of  that 
committee  it  was  laid  down  as  a  fundamental  proposition,  that 
nothing  but  the  supreme  test  of  gold  applied  to  paper  will 
certainly  determine  the  question  of  redundancy.  That  report 
was  debated  for  many  weeks,  and  every  leading  banker,  broker, 
importer,  and  jobber  of  England  opposed  the  Bullion  Com- 
mittee and  the  proposed  return  to  cash  payments.  The  meas- 
ure was  defeated.  Gold  and  prices  immediately  rose.  From 
181 1  to  1819  there  was  a  steady  rise  in  prices  and  stocks;  and 
in  the  year  18 19  another  committee  of  the  House  of  Commons 
was  appointed  to  examine  and  report  on  the  financial  situation 
of  the  kingdom.  Three  members  of  the  Bullion  Committee  of 
1810  were  also  on  the  committee  of  18 19.  After  a  most  search- 
ing investigation,  they  reported  in  favor  of  resumption,  and 
indorsed  the  doctrines  of  the  Bullion  Report. 

Then  it  was  that  Sir  Robert  Peel  distinguished  himself  as 
the  great  statesman  and  financier  of  England  by  declaring  in 
the  House  of  Commons  his  conversion  to  the  doctrines  of  the 
Bullion  Report,  which  he  had  so  strenuously  opposed  eight 
years  before.  I  have  before  me  the  records  of  the  great  debate 
in  which  that  illustrious  man  lamented  that  the  distinguished 
author  of  the  Bullion  Report  of  181 1  ^  was  not  then  alive  to 
aid  him  in  that  struggle,  and  witness  the  triumph  of  those  prin- 
ciples so  clearly  set  forth  in  181 1.  Eight  years  of  terrible  ex- 
perience had  demonstrated  the  truth  of  the  Bullion  Report. 
**  Sir,"  said  Peel,  **  \vc  shall  never  have  financial  security  in  this 
country  until  we  adopt  the  principles  of  that  report "  ;  and  after 
a  Parliamentary  struggle,  the  report  of  which  fills  nearly  five 
hundred  pages  of  Mansard's  Debates,  the  report  was  adopted, 
and  its  principles  have  ever  since  been  the  acknowledged  creed 
of  Great  Britain  and  of  all  other  countries  whose  people  have 
carefully  studied  the  subject.  I  refer  to  this,  sir,  as  a  matter  of 
history,  and  I  further  assert  that  there  is  no  respectable  author- 
ity on  the  subject  of  finance,  on  the  other  side  of  the  water  or 
here,  that  denies  the  doctrine  that  the  only  true  test  of  redun- 

1  Francis  Horner. 
VOL.  I.  13 


dancy  of  currency  is  its  convertibility  into  gold.  You  may 
bring  your  figures  to  prove  that  we  have  no  more  currency 
than  our  trade  requires;  but  I  tell  you  that  so  long  as  your 
paper  dollar  cannot  be  converted  into  gold,  there  is  too  much 
currency,  and  the  moment  it  can  be  converted  into  gold  for  its 
face,  it  has  reached  a  stable  and  safe  basis. 

Now,  if  any  gentleman  here  has  the  temerity  to  deny  this 
doctrine,  I  shall  be  pleased  to  hear  his  reasons  for  it.  To  make 
his  denial  good,  he  must  prove  that  the  immutable  laws  of  value 
have  been  overthrown.  He  cannot  plead  that  the  necessities  of 
trade  alone  control  the  value  of  currency.  Double  the  amount 
of  currency,  and  the  money  market  will  be  apparently  more 
stringent ;  triple  the  amount,  and  money  will  be  more  stringent 
still.  Why  .do  we  need  four  times  as  much  money  now  to 
move  the  products  of  the  country  as  was  needed  five  years 
ago?  Simply  because  the  inflation  of  the  currency  has  quad- 
rupled prices  and  deranged  values. 

But  the  worst  feature  in  the  case  is  the  stimulus  which  this 
inflation  gives  to  dishonesty  everywhere,  and  the  consequent 
discouragement  of  productive  industry.  I  will  not  now  ques- 
tion the  policy  of  the  act  of  1862,  by  which  paper  money  was 
made  a  legal  tender.  It  was  perhaps  a  necessity  of  the  war 
that  could  not  have  been  avoided.  But  no  one  will  deny  that  it 
unsettled  the  basis  of  all  values  in  this  country.  It  was  a  decla- 
ration by  law  that  a  promise  to  pay  a  dollar  might  be  dis- 
charged by  paying  a  sum  less  than  a  dollar.  There  was  a 
time  within  the  last  two  years  when  an  obligation  to  pay  one 
hundred  dollars  could  be  legally  cancelled  by  the  payment  of 
thirty-eight  dollars.  The  manifold  evils  resulting  from  such  a 
state  of  things  cannot  be  computed.  To  fulfil  in  January  the 
contract  of  July  may  ruin  the  creditor,  because  the  meaning  of 
the  most  important  word  in  the  contract  has  been  changed  by 
the  changing  market.  The  dollar  of  July  may  have  represented 
forty  cents,  while  the  dollar  of  January  may  represent  double 
that  sum. 

Will  prudent  men  embark  in  solid  business,  and  risk  all  they 
possess  to  such  uncertain  chances?  There  is  left  open  the 
alluring  temptation  to  speculate  on  the  rise  and  fall  of  gold, 
stocks,  and  commodities,  a  pursuit  in  which  all  that  is  gained  by 
one  is  lost  by  another,  and  no  addition  is  made  to  the  public 
wealth.     And  this  is  the  history  of  thousands  of  our  business 


men.  They  have  trusted  their  capital  to  the  desperate  chances 
of  Wall  Street.  They  have  embarked  on  the  sea  of  paper 
money,  and  they  ask  us  to  keep  the  flood  rising  that  they  may 
float  Every  day  adds  stimulus  to  this  insane  gambling,  and 
depresses  legitimate  business  and  honest  labor.  The  tide  must 
be  checked,  and  the  fury  of  the  flood  restrained.  Wc  must 
bring  values  back  to  the  solid  standard  of  gold.  Let  that  be 
done,  and  the  fabric  of  business  is  founded,  not  on  the  sand,  but 
on  the  firm  rock  of  public  faith.  The  fury  of  the  storm  tore  us 
from  our  moorings,  and  left  us  to  the  mercy  of  the  waves.  Let 
us  pilot  the  good  ship  again  into  port,  so  that  we  may  once 
more  feel  the  solid  earth  beneath  our  feet. 

How  perfectly  prices  have  kept  pace  with  the  currency  let 
the  history  of  the  last  five  years  show.  Name  any  one  year  in 
which  the  currency  has  been  more  inflated  than  in  the  preced- 
ing, with  no  prospect  of  contraction,  and  you  will  find  prices 
proportionately  advanced.  I  hold  in  my  hand  the  price  list  of 
the  last  four  years,  as  published  in  the  Merchants*  Magazine. 
Take,  for  example,  the  average  price  of  flour.  In  January, 
1861,  it  was  $5.35  per  barrel;  in  1862,  it  was  $5.50;  in  1863, 
$6.05;   in   1864,  it  was  $7;    in  1865,  $10.     The  prices  kept  in  \ 

exact  proportion  to  the  volume  of  the  currency.  Now,  in  Jan- 
uary, 1866,  after  the  President,  the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury, 
and  Congress  had  made  a  decided  movement  toward  specie 
payments,  and  indicated  their  purpose  to  restore  the  old  stan- 
dard of  value,  the  price  dropped  to  $8.75  per  barrel,  as  the 
average  for  the  month.  Take  any  one  of  the  sixty-three 
articles  on  this  market  list,  and  it  will  exhibit  the  same  truth, 
that  an  expanded  currency  produces  high  prices.  British  and 
French  history,  as  well  as  our  own,  give  the  same  testimony  on 
this  subject.  I  do  not,  of  course,  suppose  that  resumption  will 
bring  us  down  to  old  prices.  Heavy  taxes  and  the  increased 
product  of  gold  will  hold  prices  higher  than  they  were  before 
the  war. 

I  cannot  leave  this  point  without  citing  the  great  authority  of 
Daniel  Webster  on  the  subject  of  irredeemable  paper  money. 
I  quote  from  his  speech  of  May  25,  1832,  on  the  Bank  of  the 
United  States :  — : 

"A  sound  currency  is  an  essential  and  indispensable  security  for  the 
fruits  of  industry  and  honest  enteq:)rise.  Every  man  of  property  or  in- 
dustry, every  man  who  desires  to  preserve  what  he  honestly  possesses,  or 



to  obtain  what  he  can  honestly  earn,  has  a  direct  interest  in  maintaining 
a  safe  circulating  medium ;  such  a  medium  as  shall  be  a  real  and  sub- 
stantial representative  of  property,  not  liable  to  vibrate  with  opinions, 
not  subject  to  be  blown  up  or  blown  down  by  the  breath  of  speculation, 
but  made  stable  and  secure  by  its  immediate  relation  to  that  which  the 
whole  world  regards  as  of  a  permanent  value.  A  disordered  currency  is 
one  of  the  greatest  of  political  evils.  It  undermines  the  virtues  necessary 
for  the  support  of  the  social  system,  and  encourages  propensities  destruc- 
tive of  its  happiness.  It  wars  against  industry,  frugality,  and  economy ; 
and  it  fosters  the  evil  spirits  of  extravagance  and  speculation.  Of  all  the 
contrivances  for  cheating  the  laboring  classes  of  mankind,  none  has  been 
more  effectual  than  that  which  deludes  them  with  paper  money.  This 
is  the  most  effectual  of  inventions  to  fertilize  the  rich  man's  field  by  the 
sweat  of  the  poor  man's  brow.  Ordinary  t}Tanny,  oppression,  excessive 
taxation,  these  bear  lightly  on  the  happiness  of  the  mass  of  the  commu- 
nity, compared  with  a  fraudulent  currency  and  the  robberies  committed 
by  depreciated  paper.  Our  own  history  has  recorded  for  our  instruction 
enough,  and  more  than  enough,  of  the  demoralizing  tendency,  the  in- 
justice, and  the  intolerable  oppression  on  the  virtuous  and  well  disposed, 
of  a  degraded  paper  currency  authorized  by  law,  or  in  any  way  counte- 
nanced by  government."  ^ 

Resumption  is  not  so  difficult  a  work  as  many  suppose.  It 
did  not  take  so  long  in  England  as  the  gentleman  from  Pennsyl- 
vania^ stated  in  his  speech  this  afternoon.  In  July,  1819,  Par- 
liament decreed  that  after  February  i,  1820,  the  Bank  should 
begin  to  redeem  in  small  quantities,  and  should  increase  the 
amount  at  stated  periods  until  May,  1823,  when  full  specie  pay- 
ment should  be  made.  The  Bank  contracted  its  circulation, 
reduced  the  price  of  gold,  and  fully  resumed  payments.  May  i, 
1 82 1,  only  fifteen  months  after  the  law  went  into  operation.  I 
should  be  sorry  to  see  a  sudden  contraction  of  our  currency 
and  a  rapid  decline  in  gold.  It  would  be  too  great  a  shock  to 
business.  But  if  the  Secretary  is  armed  with  the  requisite  power, 
he  can  make  the  movement  so  steadily  and  gradually  as  not  to 
disturb,  to  any  dangerous  degree,  the  course  of  business  and 

The  chief  objection  urged  against  the  pending  bill  is  that  it 
confers  too  much  power,  —  more  than  ought  to  be  intrusted  to 
any  man.  Now,  sir,  a  tremendous  power  was  given  to  General 
Grant,  when  the  lives  of  hundreds  of  thousands  of  men  were 
placed  absolutely  at  his  disposal.     Sherman  was  intrusted  with 

1  Works  of  Daniel  Webster,  Vol.  III.  pp.  394,  395.  2  Mr.  Stevens. 


vast  power  when  he  started  with  his  great  army  on  his  march 
to  the  sea.  But  it  was  necessary  to  trust  some  one  with  that 
power.  Congress  could  not  command  armies  and  plan  cam- 
paigns. So  also,  in  the  present  emergency,  some  one  must  be 
trusted  with  power.  Congress  cannot  negotiate  a  loan,  cannot 
regulate  the  details  of  the  currency,  or  fund  the  debt.  It  must 
delegate  the  power.  I  will  not  eulogize  the  present  Secretary 
of  the  Treasury ;  he  needs  no  eulogy  from  me.  It  is  the  Sec- 
retary of  the  Treasury,  not  Hugh  McCuUoch,  who  needs  this 
power.  I  vote  to  give  it  to  the  incumbent  of  that  high  office, 
whoever  he  may  be,  and  hold  him  responsible  for  the  use  he 
may  make  of  it. 

I  repeat  it,  sir,  if  gentlemen  do  not  approve  this  bill,  they 
should  offer  some  other  plan  that  will  accomplish  the  desired 

[Here  Mr.  Garfield  turned  aside  from  the  direct  line  of  his  argument 
to  discuss  the  question  of  the  States  taxing  the  national  bonds.  As  the 
subject  of  taxing  the  bonds  is  much  more  fully  discussed  in  the  speech 
of  July  15,  1868,  that  branch  of  his  argument  is  here  omitted.] 

The  gentleman  from  Pennsylvania  ^  tells  us  he  is  in  favor  of 
returning  to  specie  payments  when  it  can  be  done  without  dis- 
turbing or  deranging  the  business  of  the  country.  If  he  waits 
for  that,  it  can  never  be  done.  It  cannot  be  done  without  first 
contracting  the  currency  and  producing  a  temporary  stringency 
in  the  money  market.  If  we  have  not  the  nerve  to  do  that,  if 
we  have  not  patriotism  to  suffer  that  temporary  inconvenience, 
we  must  go  on  in  the  swift  road  to  financial  disaster  and  ultimate 
national  bankruptcy. 

The  gentleman  says  we  must  reach  specie  payments  by  pro- 
tection. He  says,  if  we  protect  our  manufactures  we  shall  keep 
gold  from  going  abroad.  This  is  not  his  first  attempt  to  regu- 
late the  value  and  movement  of  gold  by  legislation.  After  a 
few  days'  trial,  his  law  of  1864  for  that  purpose  was  repealed. 
I  do  not  oppose  protection.  I  am  in  favor  of  protecting  the 
sanctity  of  contracts  by  bringing  all  values  back  to  the  basis  of 
a  uniform  standard.  Then  our  iron  mills  will  not  stand  idle, 
as  they  now  do,  because  of  the  risk  occasioned  by  the  violent 
fluctuation  of  prices. 

Mr.  Speaker,  this  is  our  only  remedy.     I  have  faith  in  the 

^  Mr.  Stevens. 


Secretary  of  the  Treasury  that  he  will,  by  and  by,  with  as  little 
disturbance  to  business  as  possible,  bring  us  to  specie  pay- 
ments. We  have  travelled  more  than  one  quarter  of  the  way 
since  Congress  met.  Gold  was  then  148,  now  it  is  130.  Mercury 
in  the  barometer  is  not  more  sensitive  to  atmospheric  influences 
than  is  the  gold  market  to  the  legislation  of  Congress.  Witness 
the  following  paragraph  from  the  financial  column  of  a  recent 
New  York  daily:  "Wall  Street  is  more  animated  to-day  in 
consequence  of  the  report,  which  is  extensively  believed,  that 
all  loan  bills  will  be  made  conducive  to  inflation,  and  that  the 
temper  of  Congress  is  hostile  to  all  measures  looking  toward 
contraction  of  the  greenback  currency.  This  is  interpreted 
to  be  favorable  to  higher  prices,  and  is  already  producing  its 
effects  in  stimulating  speculation."  Defeat  this  bill  and  there 
will  be  a  jubilee  in  Wall  Street.  This  House  must  take  the 


The  bill  having  been  lost  ofi  the  i6th  of  March  by  a  small  majority, 
Mr.  Garfield  changed  his  vote  so  as  to  enable  him  to  move  to  reconsider, 
which  motion  was  sustained  by  the  House  on  the  19th.  Before  moving 
the  previous  question,  Mr.  Garfield  said  :  — 

Mr.  Speaker,  —  Every  gentleman  in  this  House  must  admit 
that,  during  the  short  time  given  to  the  committee  this  morn- 
ing, a  full  hearing  has  been  given  to  two  of  the  ablest  gentle- 
men who  oppose  this  measure,  and  I  presume  their  views  could 
not  have  been  more  strongly  stated  in  the  same  length  of  time 
than  they  have  just  been  stated  by  the  gentleman  from  Massa- 
chusetts.^ But  I  wish  to  call  his  attention  and  that  of  the  House 
to  the  fact  that,  in  the  discussion  of  the  bill,  he  has  raised  an 
issue  aside  from  the  question.  He  has  undertaken  to  antagonize 
the  policy  of  the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury  with  the  business 
interests  of  the  country,  and  has  told  us  that  we  are  putting  in 
the  hands  of  the  Secretary  a  power  which  may  be  used  against 
the  industry  and  honest  labor  of  the  country. 

We  propose,  sir,  to  put  power  into  his  hands  to  be  used 
against  those  financial  gamblers  who  would  break  down  the 
public  credit,  and  thus  injure  the  most  important  interests  of 
the  country.  I  would  be  the  last  man  to  cast  a  vote  that  could 
oppress  the  manufacturer,  or  any  other  producer  of  wealth,  and 

1  Mr.  Boutwell. 


I  believe  that  the  honorable  Secretary  asks  for  power,  not  to 
oppress,  but  to  encourage  industry.  But  I  ask  gentlemen 
whether  they  have  considered  where  he  will  be  left  in  case  we 
do  not  give  him  the  power  he  now  asks.  Why  does  he  ask  it? 
The  President  of  the  United  States  declared  a  financial  policy, 
which  has  been  more  fully  elaborated  by  the  Secretary,  and  we 
are  now  asked  to  give  him  power  to  carry  out  that  policy ;  but 
gentlemen  hesitate,  because  it  may  bring  a  temporary  pressure 
upon  the  business  of  the  country. 

The  gentleman  has  stated  the  amount  of  currency  that  might 
be  withdrawn  under  the  provisions  of  this  bill,  and  says  if  the 
whole  were  withdrawn  it  would  cause  a  disastrous  collapse.  He 
has  forgotten  that  there  is  nearly  $300,000,000  of  gold  and 
silver  in  this  country  which  will  flow  into  the  circulation  as  the 
gfreenback  currency  is  retired.  He  has  also  forgotten  that  we 
are  now  producing  over  $100,000,000  in  gold  and  silver  every 
year  from  our  mines.  He  has  omitted  these  very  considera- 
ble sums,  which  changes  entirely  the  conditions  of  the  problem 
before  us. 

Mr.  Stevens.  From  what  data  does  the  gentleman  undertake  to  say 
that  there  is  ^300,000,000  in  gold  now  in  this  country  ready  for  circula- 

I  base  my  estimate  on  the  opinion  of  those  who  have  given 
the  subject  careful  attention,  and  also  upon  the  condition  of  our 
foreign  exchanges.  The  gentleman  is  aware  that  exchange  for 
gold  with  all  nations  is  now  in  our  favor,  and  that  cannot  be 
unless  we  have  a  very  considerable  quantity  of  gold  in  the 

Mr.  Stevens.     I  have  seen  no  record  of  over  $70,000,000. 

There  are  $57,000,000  in  the  Treasury  now,  besides  what  is 
deposited  in  banks  and  in  private  coffers.  Beside  this,  it  must  be 
remembered  that  gold  is  now  the  currency  of  the  Pacific  States. 
But  the  fact  that  foreign  exchange  is  in  our  favor  is  an  indubi- 
table proof  that  we  have  a  large  supply  of  specie. 

Mr.  Kelley.  Will  the  gentleman  permit  a  single  brief  question? 
Is  not  the  inflowing  volume  of  gold  a  return  for  bonds,  rather  than  for 
produce  of  any  kind,  raw  or  manufactured  ? 

That  does  not  alter  the  fact.  By  whatever  means  it  comes, 
we  have  the  gold,  and  the  supply  is  increasing,  and  will  increase' 
so  long  as  we  pursue  the  policy  of  resumption. 


And  now,  once  for  all,  I  desire  to  say,  before  leaving  this 
subject,  that  neither  the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury  nor  the  Com- 
mittee of  Ways  and  Means  intends  or  desires  that  there  shall  be 
a  rapid  contraction  of  the  currency;  there  is  no  purpose  of 
that  kind.  Already,  in  anticipation  of  the  measure  now  under 
discussion,  gold  is  falling  even  more  rapidly  than  is  desirable. 
I  am  sorry  to  see  it  move  downward  so  fast  as  it  does.  And 
the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury,  if  he  could,  would  make  its  de- 
cline more  gradual. 

Mr.  Speaker,  the  question  is,  will  we  give  the  Secretary  of 
the  Treasury  the  power  to  initiate  the  policy  of  contraction  of 
the  currency,  as  the  House  indicated  so  decisively  on  the  i8th 
of  December  last?^  What  other  policy  has  been  suggested? 
A  policy  has  been  suggested  by  the  gentleman  from  Pennsyl- 
vania ^  in  a  bill  he  introduced  this  morning.  That  bill  author- 
izes the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury  to  take  up  short  bonds  as 
they  mature,  and  issue  greenbacks  in  payment.  If  it  should  be 
adopted,  $1,000,000,000  of  greenbacks  would  be  issued  in  the 
next  eighteen  months.  I  have  upon  my  desk  a  pamphlet 
written  by  a  citizen  of  Pennsylvania  signing  himself  "  Patriot,'* 
who  recommends  the  immediate  issue  of  $1,000,000,000  of 
greenbacks,  and  believes  it  would  put  the  country  in  a  healthy 
condition  for  business !  This  enthusiastic  pamphleteer  rises 
to  the  sublime,  if  not  to  the  blasphemous,  and  declares,  as  the 
sum  of  his  financial  wisdom,  that  next  to  the  immortal  God 
paper  money  is  the  greatest  and  most  beneficent  power  on  this 
earth.  This  "  Patriot "  will  be  delighted  with  the  biM  of  his 
distinguished  representative. 

Mr.  Speaker,  there  is  no  leading  financier,  no  leading  states- 
man, now  living,  or  who  has  lived  within  the  last  half-cen- 
tury, in  whose  opinion  the  gentleman  can  find  any  support. 
They  all  declare,  as  the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury  declares,  that 
the  only  honest  basis  of  value  is  a  currency  redeemable  in 
specie  at  the  will  of  the  holder.  I  am  an  advocate  of  paper 
money,  but  that  paper  money  must  represent  what  it  promises 
on  its  face.     I  do  not  wish  to  hold  in  my  hands  the  printed  lies 

1  The  reference  is  to  this  resolution, adopted  at  that  time  :  "Resolved,  That  this 
House  cordially  concurs  in  the  views  of  the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury  in  relation 
to  the  necessity  of  a  contraction  of  the  currency  with  a  view  to  as  early  a  resump- 
.tion  of  specie  payments  as  the  business  interests  of  the  country  will  permit;  and 
we  hereby  pledge  co-operative  action  to  this  end  as  rapidly  as  practicable." 

-2  Mr.  Kclley. 


of  the  government;  I  want  its  promise  to  pay,  signed  by  the 
high  officers  of  the  government,  sacredly  kept,  in  the  exact 
meaning  of  the  words  of  the  promise.  Let  us  not  continue  to 
practise  this  conjurer's  art,  by  which  sixty  cents  shall  discharge 
a  debt  of  one  hundred  cents.  I  do  not  want  industry  every- 
-where  to  be  thus  crippled  and  wounded,  and  its  wounds  plas- 
tered over  with  legally  authorized  lies. 

A  bill  was  introduced  into  the  House  expressing  the  wishes 
of  the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury.  The  Committee  of  Ways 
and  Means  reduced  its  proportions,  and  struck  out  several  pro- 
visions that  they  believed  could  safely  be  spared.  They  struck 
out  tho  foreign  loan  clause,  and  restricted  the  power  conferred 
by  it  till  the  Secretary  declares  that  with  any  less  power  he  shall 
be  unable  to  fund  our  indebtedness  and  manage  our  finances. 

I  propose,  sir,  to  let  the  House  take  the  responsibility  of 
adopting  or  rejecting  this  measure.  On  the  one  side,  it  is  pro- 
posed to  return  to  solid  and  honest  values;  on  the  other,  to 
float  on  the  boundless  and  shoreless  sea  of  paper  money,  with 
all  its  dishonesty  and  broken  pledges.  We  leave  it  to  the 
House  to  decide  which  alternative  it  will  choose.  Choose  the 
one,  and  you  float  away  into  an  unknown  sea  of  paper  money, 
that  shall  know  no  decrease  until  you  take  just  such  a  measure  as 
is  now  proposed  to  bring  us  back  again  to  solid  values.  Delay 
this  measure,  and  it  will  cost  the  country  dear.  Adopt  it  now, 
and  with  a  little  depression  in  business  and  a  little  stringency 
in  the  money  market  the  worst  will  be  over,  and  we  shall  have 
reached  the  solid  earth.  Sooner  or  later  such  a  measure  must 
be  adopted.  Go  on  as  you  are  now  going  on,  and  a  financial 
crisis  worse  than  that  of  1837  ^^ill  bring  us  to  the  bottom. 
For  one  I  am  unwilling  that  my  name  shall  be  linked  to  the 
fate  of  a  paper  currency.  I  believe  that  any  party  which  com- 
mits itself  to  paper  money  will  go  down  amid  the  general  dis- 
aster, covered  with  the  curses  of  a  ruined  people. 

Mr.  Speaker,  I  remember  that  on  the  monument  of  Queen 
Elizabeth,  where  her  glories  were  recited  and  her  honors 
summed  up,  among  the  last  and  the  highest,  recorded  as  the 
climax  of  all  her  achievements,  was  this,  —  that  she  had  restored 
the  money  of  her  kingdom  to  its  just  value.  And  when  this 
House  shall  have  done  its  work,  when  it  shall  have  brought  back 
values  to  their  proper  standard,  it  also  will  deserve  a  monu- 



April  14,  1866. 

On  motion  of  Mr.  Garfield,  the  reading  of  the  Journal  of  yesterday  was 
dispensed  with.     He  then  said  :  — 

MR.  SPEAKER,  —  I  desire  to  move  that  this  House  do 
now  adjourn.  And  before  the  vote  upon  that  motion  is 
taken  I  desire  to  say  a  few  words. 

This  day,  Mr.  Speaker,  will  be  sadly  memorable  so  long  as 
this  nation  shall  endure,  which  God  grant  may  be  **  till  the  last 
syllable  of  recorded  time,"  when  the  volume  of  human  history 
shall  be  sealed  up  and  delivered  to  the  Omnipotent  Judge.  In 
all  future  time,  on  the  recurrence  of  this  day,  I  doubt  not  that 
the  citizens  of  this  republic  will  meet  in  solemn  assembly  to 
reflect  on  the  life  and  character  of  Abraham  Lincoln,  and  the 
awful,  tragic  event  of  April  14,  1865,  —  an  event  unparalleled 
in  the  history  of  nations,  certainly  unparalleled  in  our  o'.vn.  It 
is  eminently  proper  that  this  House  should  this  day  place  upon 
its  records  a  memorial  of  that  event. 

The  last  five  years  hav6  been  marked  by  wonderful  develop- 
ments of  individual  character.  Thousands  of  our  people,  before 
unknown  to  fame,  have  taken  their  places  in  history,  crowned 
with  immortal  honors.  In  thousands  of  humble  homes  arc 
dwelling  heroes  and  patriots  whose  names  shall  never  die.  But 
greatest  among  all  these  great  developments  were  the  character 
and  fame  of  Abraham  Lincoln,  whose  loss  the  nation  still  de- 
plores. His  character  is  aptly  described  in  the  words  of  Eng- 
land's great  Laureate,  —  written  thirty  years  ago,  —  in  which 
he  traces  the  upward  steps  of 


**  Some  divinely  gifted  man, 
Whose  life  in  low  estate  began 
And  on  a  simple  village  green ; 

**  Who  breaks  his  birth's  invidious  bar, 
And  grasps  the  skirts  of  happy  chance, 
And  breasts  the  blows  of  circumstance, 
And  grapples  with  his  evil  star ; 

**  Who  makes  by  force  his  merit  known 
And  lives  to  clutch  the  golden  keys, 
To  mould  a  mighty  State's  decrees, 
And  shape  the  whisper  of  the  throne  ; 

**  And,  moving  up  from  high  to  higher, 
Becomes  on  Fortune's  crowning  slope 
The  pillar  of  a  people's  hope, 
The  centre  of  a  world's  desire.** 

Such  a  life  and  character  will  be  treasured  forever  as  the 
sacred  possession  of  the  American  people  and  of  mankind. 

In  the  great  drama  of  the  rebellion  there  were  two  acts.     The 
first  was  the  war,  with  its  battles  and  sieges,  its  victories  and  de- 
feats, its  sufferings  and  tears.    That  act  w^as  closing  one  year  ago 
to-night,  and,  just  as  the  curtain  was  lifting  on  the  second  and 
final  act,  the  restoration  of  peace  and  liberty, — just  as  the  cur- 
tain was  rising  upon  new  characters  and  new  events,  —  the  evil 
spirit  of  the  rebellion,  in  the  fury  of  despair,  nerved  and  directed 
the  hand  of  an  assassin  to  strike  down  the  chief  character  in 
both.     It  was  no  one  man  who  killed  Abraham  Lincoln  ;   it  was 
the  embodied  spirit  of  Treason  and  Slavery,  inspired  with  fearful 
and  despairing  hate,  that  struck  him  down,  in  the  moment  of  the 
nation's  suprcmcst  joy. 

Sir,  there  are  times  in  the  history  of  men  and  nations,  when 
they  stand  so  near  the  veil  that  separates  mortals  from  the  im- 
mortals, time  from  eternity,  and  men  from  their  God,  that  they 
can  almost  hear  the  beatings  and  feel  the  pulsations  of  the  heart 
of  the  Infinite.  Through  such  a  time  has  this  nation  passed. 
When  two  hundred  and  fifty  thousand  brave  spirits  passed  from 
the  field  of  honor,  through  that  thin  veil,  to  the  presence  of 
God,  and  when  at  last  its  parting  folds  admitted  the  martyr 
President  to  the  company  of  these  dead  heroes  of  the  republic, 
the  nation  stood  so  near  the  veil  that  the  whispers  of  God  were 
heard  by  the  children  of  men.  Awestricken  by  His  voice,  the 
American  people  knelt  in  tearful  reverence  and  made  a  solemn 


covenant  with  Him  and  with  each  other,  that  this  nation  should 
be  saved  from  its  enemies,  that  all  its  glories  should  be  restored, 
and,  on  the  ruins  of  slavery  and  treason,  the  temples  of  freedom 
and  justice  should  be  built,  and  should  survive  forever. 

It  remains  for  us,  consecrated  by  that  great  event,  and  under 
a  covenant  with  God,  to  keep  that  faith,  to  go  forward  in  the 
great  work  until  it  shall  be  completed.  Following  the  lead  of 
that  great  man,  and  obeying  the  high  behests  of  God,  let  us 
remember  that 

**  He  has  sounded  forth  the  trumpet  that  shall  never  call  retreat ; 
He  is  sifting  out  the  hearts  of  men  before  His  judgment-seat; 
O,  be  swift,  my  soul,  to  answer  Him !  be  jubilant,  my  feet  1 
Our  God  is  marching  on." 

I  move,  sir,  that  this  House  do  now  adjourn. 

THE   TARIFF   BILL   OF    1866. 


July  io,  1866. 

The  Morrill  Tariff,  enacted  at  the  close  of  the  Congressional  session 
of  1860-61,  greatly  increased  the  duties  on  imported  goods.  This  legis- 
lation was  had  partly  to  fill  the  depleted  national  treasury,  but  more 
especially  to  give  protection  to  American  industry.  It  marked  a  definite 
triumph  of  the  protective  principle.  Subsidiary  to  this  act,  other  legis- 
lation of  the  same  general  character  was  had  from  time  to  time,  reaching 
to  the  close  of  the  war.  Now,  it  was  said,  there  was  a  call  for  still  higher 
protection.  Accordingly,  June  25,  1866,  Mr.  J.  S.  Morrill,  the  author  of 
the  former  measure,  now  the  chainiian  of  the  Committee  of  Ways  and 
Means,  reported  fi'om  that  committee  a  bill  to  provide  increased  revenue 
fix)m  imports,  and  for  other  purposes.  The  "  other  purposes  "  were 
greater  protection.  In  vindicating  the  measure,  Mr.  Morrill  said,  June  28, 
that  the  war  had  greatly  deranged  the  industrial  and  fiscal  economy  of 
the  country.  Immense  masses  of  wealth  had  been  destroyed,  the  pro- 
ducing power  of  the  country  much  reduced,  new  industrial  adjustments 
had  been  made,  a  vast  debt  had  been  created,  and  heavy  burdens  of 
taxation  incurred.  Nothing  but  heavier  duties  on  imports  would  furnish 
the  needed  revenue,  and  enable  American  labor  to  comj)ete  with  foreign 
labor.  Mr.  Garfield,  who  was  a  member  of  the  Committee  of  Ways  and 
Means,  bore  a  prominent  part  in  the  discussion  of  the  bill.  This,  his 
principal  speech,  was  delivered  on  July  10,  just  before  the  vote  was  taken. 
In  it  he  discusses  for  the  most  part  general  doctrines ;  his  views  on 
specific  points  must  be  sought  in  his  briefer  remarks  and  in  his  votes. 
In  the  House  the  bill  was  carried  ;  in  the  Senate  it  was  referred  to  the 
Finance  Committee,  and  postponed  to  the  next  session.  Then  it  came 
back  to  the  House,  greatly  changed,  where  it  finally  failed  to  pass. 

MR.  SPEAKER,  —  At  this  late  hour  of  the  session,  and  after 
the   protracted  discussion  in  which  so  many  gentlemen 
have  engaged,  I  would  not  further  trespass  upon  the  patience 

206  THE   TARIFF  BILL   OF  1866. 

of  the  House  but  for  the  fact  that  this  bill  has  been  so  gravely 
misrepresented  here,  and  so  unjustly  assailed  from  without. 
There  has  been  raised  against  it  no  small  clamor  for  iniquities 
which  it  does  not  contain,  and  for  omissions  which  have  not 
been  made. 

This  is  not  the  time  to  enter  into  any  elaborate  discussion  of 
those  general  principles  which  underlie  the  most  complicated 
of  financial  subjects,  the  trade  between  the  United  States  and 
other  nations.  The  abstract  theories  of  free  trade  and  protec- 
tion, as  laid  down  in  the  books,  can  be  of  little  practical  value 
in  the  consideration  of  this  bill.  The  disciples  of  either  school 
would  be  puzzled  to  apply  their  doctrines  to  the  present  situa- 
tion of  our  trade  and  commerce,  as  has  been  strikingly  illus- 
trated during  the  progress  of  this  debate.  There  is  scarcely 
a  free-trader  on  this  floor  who  has  not,  since  this  discussion 
began,  in  order  to  secure  a  higher  duty  on  some  product  in 
which  his  constituents  were  interested,  made  use  of  arguments 
which  met  the  hearty  approval  of  the  most  extreme  protection- 
ists; and,  on  the  other  hand,  when  these  same  protectionists 
have  been  desirous  of  bringing  into  the  country  some  article 
important  to  their  people,  we  have  heard  them  again  and  again 
defend  their  propositions  by  declarations  which  would  bring 
down  thunders  of  applause  from  an  audience  of  free- trade 

There  are  two  extremes  of  opinion  in  this  House  and  in  the 
country  to  which  I  cannot  assent.  During  the  past  year  I  have 
been  frequently  solicited  to  subscribe  publicly  to  the  dogmas  of 
various  organizations  based  on  opposite  and  extreme  doctrines 
in  relation  to  our  financial  policy ;  but  I  have  steadily  declined 
to  do  so,  partly  for  the  reason  that  I  could  not  assent  to  all  their 
articles  of  faith,  and  partly  because  I  preferred  to  approach  the 
questions  on  which  we  were  to  legislate  untrammelled  by  any 
abstract  theory,  which,  although  apparently  sound,  might  be 
impracticable  when  applied  to  the  facts  of  our  situation.  I 
would  not  be  misunderstood ;  nor  for  any  political  advantage 
to  myself  personally  would  I  allow  my  constituents  to  suppose 
that  I  indorsed  any  doctrines  which,  though  they  should  be 
pleasing  to  many  of  them,  do  not  meet  my  own  convictions  of 
truth  and  duty. 

If  to  be  a  protectionist  is  to  adopt  the  practice  which  char- 
acterized the  legislation  of  Great  Britain  and  the  leadings  nations 

THE   TARIFF  BILL   OF  1866.  207 

of  Europe  for  more  than  two  hundred  years,  and  which  is  now 
commended  to  us  by  some  of  our  political  philosophers  and 
statesmen,  then  I  am  no  protectionist,  and  shall  never  be  one. 
If  to  be  a  protectionist  is  to  base  our  legislation  upon  the  policy 
which  led  the  Parliament  of  Great  Britain,  from  the  days  of 
Elizabeth  to  the  days  of  Charles  II.,  to  forbid  the  exportation 
of  sheep  and  wool  from  the  kingdom,  under  penalty  of  confisca- 
tion and  imprisonment  for  the  first  offence,  and  torture  and 
death  for  the  second;  which  led  the  same  Parliament  in  1678  to 
pass  a  law  entitled  "  An  Act  for  the  encouragement  of  woollen 
manufactures,"  that  ordered  every  corpse  to  be  buried  in  a 
woollen  shroud ;  which  led  the  Lord  Chancellor  to  declare  the 
necessity  of  going  to  war  with  Holland  because  the  commerce 
of  the  Dutch  was  surpassing  that  of  Great  Britain ;  which  led 
the  diplomatists  of  England  to  insist  on  an  article  in  the  treaty 
of  Utrecht  of  171 3,  in  accordance  with  which  the  finest  harbor 
in  Northern  Europe  was  filled  up  and  hopelessly  ruined,  lest 
by  its  aid  the  trade  of  France  should  eclipse  that  of  England ; 
which  tortured  industry  in  every  imaginable  way,  and  ignored  all 
the  great  laws  of  value,  of  exchange,  and  of  industrial  growth ; 
which  cost  England  her  North  American  colonics,  and  plunged 
Europe  into  more  wars  during  the  seventeenth  and  eighteenth 
centuries  than  all  other  causes  combined ;  —  if  to  be  a  protec- 
tionist means  this,  or  anything  fairly  akin  to  this,  then,  I  repeat, 
I  am  no  protectionist.  That  policy,  softened  down  in  its  out- 
ward manifestations,  but  essentially  the  same  in  spirit,  is  urged 
upon  us  now  by  those  who  would  have  us  place  so  high  a  duty 
upon  foreign  merchandise  as  to  prohibit  the  importation  of  any 
article  which  this  country  produces  or  can  produce.  By  so 
doing,  besides  placing  ourselves  in  an  attitude  of  perpetual  hos- 
tility to  other  nations,  and  greatly  reducing  our  carrying  trade, 
we  should  make  monopolists  of  all  the  leading  manufacturers  of 
this  country,  who  could  fix  the  price  of  all  their  products  at 
their  own  discretion. 

If,  on  the  other  hand,  we  should  adopt  the  theories  of  the 
radical  free-traders,  and  declare  that  our  tariff  shall  be  all  for 
revenue  and  nothing  for  protection,  —  and  particularly,  were  we 
to  put  that  doctrine  in  practice  at  such  a  time  as  in  1836,  when 
we  had  no  debt  and  a  large  surplus  in  the  treasury  to  be  given 
away,  —  no  one  can  fail  to  see  that  we  should  break  down  the 
dikes  which  our  predecessors  had  erected  for  the  defence  of 

2o8  THE   TARIFF  BILL   OF  1866. 

American  industry,  —  should  destroy  or  seriously  cripple  our 
manufactures,  which  produce  nearly  one  half  the  annual  income 
of  our  people  (for  the  manufactured  products  of  this  country  in 
i860  were  valued  at  $1,900,000,000),  —  should  revolutionize  our 
industrial  system,  and  place  ourselves  at  the  mercy  of  foreign 
manufacturers.  If  to  be  a  free-trader  means  all  this,  and  pledges 
us  to  let  the  competition  of  the  world  come  in  upon  our  people, 
and  thus  to  disjoint  and  derange  the  industrial  system  of  the 
United  States,  then  I  am  no  free-trader,  and  can  never  be. 

One  of  the  worst  features  in  our  industrial  system  is  the 
irregularity  and  uncertainty  of  the  legislation  in  reference  to  the 
tariff.  It  subjects  the  business  of  manufacturing  to  the  uncer- 
tainty of  a  lottery.  If  the  prohibitionists  succeed  one  year,  the 
profits  of  manufacturers  are  enormous;  if,  as  is  quite  probable, 
the  reaction  of  the  next  year  puts  free-traders  in  power,  the 
losses  are  equally  great.  Let  either  of  these  parties  frame  the 
tariff,  and  the  result  will  be  calamitous  in  the  highest  degree. 

What,  then,  is  the  point  of  stable  equilibrium,  where  we  can 
balance  these  great  industries  with  the  most  reasonable  hope  of 
permanence  ?  We  have  seen  that  one  extreme  school  of  econo- 
mists would  place  the  price  of  all  manufactured  articles  in  the 
hands  of  foreign  producers,  by  rendering  it  impossible  for  our 
manufacturers  to  compete  with  them ;  while  the  other  extreme 
school,  by  making  it  impossible  for  the  foreigner  to  sell  his 
competing  wares  in  our  market,  would  leave  no  check  upon  the 
prices  which  our  manufacturers  might  fix  upon  their  products. 
I  hold,  therefore,  that  a  properly  adjusted  competition  between 
home  and  foreign  products  is  the  best  gauge  by  which  to  regu- 
late international  trade.  Duties  should  be  so  high  that  our 
manufacturers  can  fairly  compete  with  the  foreign  product,  but 
not  so  high  as  to  enable  them  to  drive  out  the  foreign  article, 
enjoy  a  monopoly  of  the  trade,  and  regulate  the  price  as  they 
please.  To  this  extent  I  am  a  protectionist.  If  our  govern- 
ment pursues  this  line  of  policy  steadily,  we  shall  year  by  year 
approach  more  nearly  to  the  basis  of  free  trade,  because  we 
shall  be  more  nearly  able  to  compete  with  other  nations  on 
equal  terms.  I  am  for  a  protection  which  leads  to  ultimate  free 
trade.  I  am  for  that  free  trade  which  can  be  achieved  only 
through  protection. 

I  desire  to  call  attention  briefly  to  some  of  the  fallacies  and 
misrepresentations  by  which  this  bill  has  been  assailed.     In  the 

THE   TARIFF  BILL   OF  1866.  209 

first  place,  it  has  been  stated  again  and  again  that  this  is  a  New 
England  measure,  and  repeated  attempts  have  been  made  to 
arouse  sectional  jealousy  based  on  that  allegation.  I  affirm 
that  this  is  not  a  New  England  measure,  but  that,  more  than 
any  tariff  ever  framed  by  Congress,  it  protects  and  aids  the  ag- 
ricultural interests  of  the  country.  If  there  has  ever  been  an 
agricultural  tariff,  this  is  one. 

Look  at  its  provisions  on  the  subject  of  wools.  It  is  proposed 
to  increase  the  duty  on  foreign  competing  wools  from  six  cents 
per  pound  to  ten  cents  per  pound,  and  ten  per  cent  ad  valorem^ 
making  the  total  tariff  about  eleven  and  a  half  cents  per  pound. 
It  takes  two  pounds  of  the  mestiza  wool  of  South  America  to 
equal  one  pound  of  our  American  wool.  It  is,  therefore,  a  pro- 
tection of  twenty-three  cents  per  pound  on  American  wools  of 
the  finer  qualities,  which  comprise  the  great  bulk  of  our  wool. 
Now,  there  is  grown  in  the  United  States  one  hundred  million 
pounds  of  wool  per  annum ;  and  yet  the  gentleman  from  Iowa  ^ 
tells  us  that,  in  consequence  of  the  peculiarity  of  the  climate 
and  soil  of  South  America,  we  can  never  compete  with  that 
country  in  the  production  of  wool.  In  the  same  short  speech 
the  gentleman  confuted  himself  by  declaring  that  wool-growing 
was  so  profitable  in  Iowa  that  it  did  not  need  protection. 

Mr.  Kasson.  I  beg  leave  to  correct  the  gentleman.  I  said  dis- 
tinctly that,  in  the  West,  on  the  prairies  and  on  the  plains,  where  land  is 
cheap,  grass  abundant,  and  the  winters  mild,  we  should  ultimately  be 
able  to  compete  with  the  world. 

Then  what  becomes  of  his  praise  of  the  superior  advantages 
of  South  America?  I  did  not  so  understand  the  gentleman. 
Now,  sir,  I  am  surprised  that  any  Representative  from  the  State 
of  Ohio,  where  we  have  six  million  sheep  and  where  we  raise  one 
fifth  of  all  the  wool  in  the  United  States,  should  be  found  to 
oppose  this  measure  as  being  framed  in  the  interest  of  New 

Let  me  notice  another  agricultural  feature  of  the  bill.  There 
are  fifty  ships  trading  constantly  with  Calcutta,  bringing  India 
flaxseed  to  our  shores.  In  order  to  encourage  the  home 
growth,  we  have  raised  the  duty  on  flaxseed  from  sixteen  to 
thirty  cents  per  bushel,  and  on  linseed  oil  from  twenty-three  to 
thirty  cents  per  gallon ;  yet  gentlemen  say  this  is  a  bill  for  New 

^  Mr.  Kasson. 
VOL.   I.  14 

210  THE   TARIFF  BILL   OF  1866. 

England.  If  there  be  any  protection  in  any  existing  law  more 
clearly  in  the  interest  of  agriculture,  I  should  be  obliged  to  any 
gentleman  if  he  will  name  it. 

Now,  I  do  not  deny  that  there  are  some  features  of  this  bill 
which  I  desire  to  see  changed.  I  believe  we  ought  to  reduce, 
and  I  believe  we  shall  reduce,  the  proposed  duty  on  several  ar- 
ticles named.  But  if  a  dozen  articles  out  of  the  hundreds  named 
in  the  bill  were  somewhat  reduced,  I  would  be  pleased  if  any 
gentleman  here  would  then  point  out  its  supposed  exorbitant 
features  and  alleged  enormities.  It  is  very  easy  to  join  in  a 
general  clamor  which  others  have  raised,  but  not  so  easy  to 
state  the  cause  of  the  outcry. 

Mr.  Farquhar.  I  desire  to  ask  the  gentleman  what,  in  his  judg- 
ment, would  be  the  effect  of  increasing  the  duty  on  railroad  iron  one 
hundred  per  cent,  as  it  is  increased  by  this  bill,  including  the  amount  of 
deduction  made  by  the  Internal  Revenue  Bill,  upon  the  great  interests 
of  the  West,  now  largely  engaged  in  the  construction  of  additional 

I  am  willing,  as  a  compromise  and  to  favor  the  building  of 
railroads,  to  vote  for  a  reduction  of  the  proposed  duty  on  rail- 
road iron,  and  I  presume  the  Committee  of  Ways  and  Means 
will  agree  with  me  in  this.  I  think  we  should  also  reduce  the 
proposed  duty  on  salt,  and  I  have  no  doubt  in  several  other 
particulars  we  shall  be  able  to  reduce  the  rate  of  duty. 

Mr.  Stevens.  Why  not  at  once  come  out  honestly  and  accept  the 
proposition  of  the  gentleman  from  Iowa,*  which  is  a  much  better  and 
more  ingenious  one  ? 

I  will  tell  the  gentleman  why  before  I  am  done.  The  gen- 
tleman from  Iowa  2  says  wc  ought  not  to  adopt  the  policy  of 
protecting  those  industries  of  this  country  that  we  can  make 
money  at,  and  if  the  people  cannot  make  money  out  of  manu- 
facturing enterprises,  let  them  go  into  something  more  profitable. 
He  says  wc  can  raise  grain  for  the  world  without  protective 
legislation.  Let  me  repeat  to  him  a  little  of  the  history  of  grain- 
raising  in  this  country.  There  was  a  time  when  New  England 
was  a  great  grain-raising  country.  At  a  later  period,  New  York 
was  the  granary  of  the  New  World.  Later  still,  the  granary  was 
Pennsylvania,  then  Ohio ;  then  it  was  still  farther  to  the  west. 
But  what  is  the  situation  now?    New  England  raises  wheat  enough 

^  Mr.  Wilson.  2  i\^^  Kasson. 

THE   TARIFF  BILL    OF  i866.  21 1 

to  feed  her  people  three  weeks  in  the  year ;  New  York  raises 
enough  to  feed  her  people  six  months;  Pennsylvania  just  about 
enough  to  supply  the  wants  of  her  people,  with  none  to  spare ; 
and  Ohio  produces  a  surplus  of  three  million  bushels.  You 
must  now  go  to  the  prairies  of  the  West  before  you  reach  the 
granary  of  this  country.  Now,  I  wish  to  say  that  this  talk 
about  putting  our  people  wholly  into  the  business  of  raising 
grain  for  the  world  is  utterly  absurd  and  mischievous.  Let  me 
put  a  practical  question  to  these  extreme  free-trade  gentlemen 
in  reference  to  this  matter.  Suppose  that  to-day  we  were  at 
war  with  the  great  powers  of  Europe,  —  suppose  we  had  always 
been  practising  their  precepts,  and  were  engaged  wholly  in 
raising  grain,  —  having  no  manufacturing  establishments,  as  we 
should  not  have  had  but  for  the  protection  that  has  been  ac- 
corded to  that  kind  of  industry  by  our  predecessors,  —  should 
we  not  be  completely  at  the  mercy  of  the  other  nations  of  the 
earth?  Edward  Everett  declared  in  a  speech  in  183 1,  after 
making  a  careful  estimate,  that  the  extra  amount  paid  by  the 
government  of  the  United  States  for  woollen  blankets  and  cloth- 
ing for  their  soldiers  in  the  war  of  181 2  largely  exceeded  the 
amount  of  revenue  ever  derived  by  the  United  States  from  all 
its  tariffs  for  the  protection  of  all  our  industries  from  the  foun- 
dation of  the  government  to  1831  ;  and  that  it  would  have 
effected  a  great  saving  to  the  government  if  Congress  had  ex- 
pended many  millions  of  money  directly  from  the  treasury  before 
that  war,  and  had  built  up  and  had  in  readiness  these  manufac- 
tories for  the  use  of  the  government  during  the  war. 

Against  the  abstract  doctrine  of  free  trade,  as  such,  very  little 
can  be  said.  As  a  theory,  there  is  much  to  commend  it ;  but 
it  can  never  be  applied  to  nations,  except  in  time  of  peace.  It 
can  never  be  applied  to  the  nations  of  the  earth,  except  when 
they  are  on  the  same  range  of  growth  and  culture.  Let  war 
come,  and  it  utterly  destroys  and  overturns  the  whole  doctrine 
in  its  practical  application.     Says  Prcscott :  — 

"  Nothing  is  easier  than  to  parade  abstract  theorems,  true  in  the  ab- 
stract, in  political  economy ;  nothing  harder  than  to  reduce  them  to 
practice.  That  an  individual  will  understand  his  own  interests  better 
than  the  government  can,  or,  what  is  the  same  thing,  that  trade,  if  let 
alone,  will  fmd  its  way  into  the  channels  on  the  whole  most  advantageous 
to  the  community,  few  will  deny.  But  what  is  true  of  all  together  is  not 
true  of  any  one  singly ;  and  no  one  nation  can  safely  act  on  these  prin- 

212  THE   TARIFF  BILL    OF  1866. 

ciples  if  others  do  not.  In  point  of  fact,  no  nation  has  acted  on  them 
since  the  formation  of  the  present  political  communities  of  Europe.  All 
that  a  new  state,  or  a  new  government  in  an  old  one,  can  now  propose 
to  itself  is,  not  to  sacrifice  its  interests  to  a  speculative  abstraction,  but 
to  accommodate  its  institutions  to  the  great  political  system  of  which  it 
is  a  member.  On  these  principles,  and  on  the  higher  obligation  of  pro- 
viding the  means  of  national  independence  in  its  most  extended  sense, 
much  that  was  bad  in  the  economical  policy  of  Spain  at  the  period  under 
review  may  be  vindicated."  ^ 

The  example  of  England  has  been  held  up  before  us.  A 
word  about  that  example.  There  is  a  venerable  member  in  this 
hall  who  was  a  member  of  this  House  long  before  England  had 
professed  her  free-trade  doctrines, — while  she  was  one  of  the 
most  highly  protective  nations  on  the  face  of  the  earth.  For 
two  hundred  years  she  pursued  a  policy  that  was  absolutely 
prohibitory;  then  followed  a  protective  period ;  now  she  pro- 
fesses free  trade.  When  she  had  built  up  her  manufactures, 
and  had  become  able  to  compete  successfully  with  the  world  in 
matters  of  commerce,  she  graciously  invited  all  nations  to  drop 
their  protective  policy  and  become  free-traders.  It  is  like  a 
giant  or  an  athlete  who,  after  months  of  training,  asks  all  the 
delicate  clerks  and  students  to  come  out  and  fight  or  run  with 
him  on  equal  terms. 

I  have  before  me  a  statement  of  the  revenues  of  Great  Britain 
for  the  last  year.  Her  total  revenue  was  $354,000,000.  Of  this 
sum»  $115,000,000,  or  thirty-two  per  cent,  she  raised  from  cus- 
toms ;  and  it  is  a  remarkable  fact  that  that  is  precisely  the  per 
cent  of  our  revenue  that  was  raised  from  customs  last  year. 
This  shows  that  she  raises  as  much  by  her  tariff  as  we  do  by 
ours  in  proportion  to  the  amount  of  our  revenue.  If  gentlemen 
desire  simply  to  prostrate  us  before  England,  if  they  desire  to 
capitulate  to  her  in  commerce  as  we  never  have  capitulated  in 
arms,  let  them  follow  in  the  lead  of  these  free-trade  philoso- 
phers. I  hold  a  pamphlet  in  my  hand  that  was  laid  upon  the 
desks  of  members  this  morning;  and  in  reply  to  the  question 
of  my  colleague,^  Who  in  this  country  is  demanding  that  this 
bill  be  defeated  or  postponed?  I  will  tell  him.  Here  is  the 
address  of  the  Free-Trade  Association  of  London  to  the  Ameri- 
can Free-Trade  League,  and  if  I  had  time  I  would  read  a  few 

1  Ferdinand  and  Isabella,  Vol.  I.  p.  488  (Philadelphia,  1873). 
8  Mr.  Delano. 

THE   TARIFF  BILL   OF  x866.  213 


extracts  from  it  Let  me  read  you  one  of  the  headings :  "  Pro- 
tection unnecessary  to  foster  manufactures  in  their  infancy/' 
They  have  evidently  outgrown  their  teachers,  for  John  Stuart 
Mill  admits  that  much.  England  never  taught  that  doctrine 
until  her  manufactures  had  passed  beyond  their  infancy,  and 
stood  breast-high  with  the  world  in  the  full  vigor  of  manhood. 
I  read  a  sentence  from  this  disinterested  lecture  of  English- 
men to  Americans,  —  of  the  shopkeeper  to  his  customer,  —  of 
the ''  nation  of  shopkeepers "  to  the  nation  of  customers  and 
grain-raisers  that  some  gentlemen  would  have  us  become: 
"  You  have  most  truly  remarked  in  your  constitution  that  pro- 
tection to  the  producer  means  robbery  to  the  consumer."  Now, 
the  gentleman  from  lowa^  who  has  just  made  his  speech  pro- 
ceeds upon  the  doctrine  that  protection  is  itself  robbery ;  and 
of  course  he  will  vote  against  this  bill,  and  against  all  other  bills 
that  propose  to  throw  any  protection  whatever  around  American 

Two  propositions  are  before  the  House  to  keep  us  from  act- 
ing directly  upon  this  bill.  The  real  question  is,  Shall  we  pass 
the  bill  after  the  requisite  amendments  have  been  made?  But, 
fearing  it  may  pass,  the  gentleman  from  lowa^  picks  out  a  few 
pleasant  items  that  refer  mainly  to  the  West,  with  a  sprinkling 
for  the  East,  and  asks  us  to  have  the  bill  sent  back  to  the  com- 
mittee, with  instructions  to  report  those  items  alone.  He  offers 
a  bait  to  one  section  of  the  Union  to  induce  its  representatives 
to  neglect  another. 

Mr.  Speaker,  it  is  painful  to  listen  to  the  sectional  language 
that  we  hear  every  day  in  our  debates.  One  gentleman  sneers 
at  New  England,  and  says,  "  This  measure  is  a  New  England 
pet";  another  points  at  Pennsylvania,  and  hits  her  off  in  an 
epigrammatic  sentence;  another  turns  to  the  rough,  sturdy 
West,  and  splinters  his  lance  in  a  sharp  assault  upon  her.  I 
always  understood,  during  the  terrible  struggle  of  the  past  four 
years,  that  we  did  not  fight  for  New  England,  for  Pennsylvania, 
or  for  the  West,  but  wc  fought  for  the  Union,  with  all  its  one- 
ness, its  greatness,  and  its  glory.  And  if  we  are  now  to  come 
back,  after  the  victory  is  won,  and  hold  up  our  party  flags,  and 
talk  about  '*  our  section  *'  as  against  "  your  section,"  we  are 
neither  patriots  nor  friends.  There  should  be  no  division  of  in- 
terest in  all  great  matters  of  national  legislation.     And  if  New 

1  Mr.  Kasson.  ^  Mr.  Wilson. 

214  THE  TARIFF  BILL   OF  1866. 

England  has  advanced  further  than  Pennsylvania  or  the  West, 
and  does  not  so  much  need  protection,  she  must  bear  with  her 
sisters  until  they,  following  in  her  footsteps,  can  stand  on  a 
basis  of  equal  growth  and  prosperity.  I  hope,  therefore,  no 
such  partial  legislation  as  that  suggested  by  the  motion  of  the 
gentleman  from  Iowa  will  prevail.  I  should  be  ashamed  to  vote 
for  a  measure  that  singled  out  the  interests  of  my  own  State  and 
neglected  the  interests  of  others. 

Mr.  Wilson.  Peraiit  me  to  correct  the  gentleman,  for  he  is  entirely 
mistaken  in  regard  to  the  proposition  I  made.  It  does  not  pick  out  a 
few  interests,  but  leaves  a  margin  not  exceeding  twenty-five  per  cent  on 
everything  embraced  in  the  bill. 

I  want  to  say  in  regard  to  the  margin  of  twenty-five  per  cent, 
that  nothing  can  be  more  absurd  than  to  say  that  any  one  rate 
per  cent  shall  be  the  limit  put  upon  all  articles,  under  any  and 
all  circumstances.  And  that  reminds  me  of  a  point  which  I  was 
about  to  forget.  I  wish  to  call  the  attention  of  the  House  to 
the  reason  why  any  revision  of  the  tariff  is  heeded  at  this  time. 
The  present  tariff  law  was  passed  in  1864;  gold  was  then  at 
200,  and  it  rose  during  the  year  to  285.  Our  tariff  was  adjusted 
to  that  situation  of  the  currency;  and  what  would  be  highly 
protective  then  might  give  no  protection  now,  or  when  gold 
shall  be  as  low  as  it  has  been  since  this  House  met  in  session. 
That  is  the  great  trouble  with  us  now.  We  are  afloat  without 
any  fixed  standard  of  value,  and  that  which  would  be  a  proper 
duty  to-day  may  be  a  high  duty  to-morrow  and  a  low  one  next 
day.  I  greatly  regret  that  we  have  not  been  able  to  reach 
nearer  to  the  solid  basis  of  specie,  and  base  our  currency  and 
all  our  legislation  upon  some  fixed  standard.  But  while  we  are 
tossing  as  we  now  are,  going  up  and  down  twenty  and  thirty 
per  cent  on  gold  in  the  space  of  a  month,  it  is  necessary  that 
we  have  a  tariff,  temporarily  at  least,  that  will  safely  shield  the 
interests  of  the  country  until  we  have  passed  the  dangers  and 
reached  a  more  stable  financial  condition. 

One  other  proposition  has  been  submitted,  and  with  a  notice 
of  that  I  will  conclude.  The  gentleman  from  Massachusetts  * 
proposes  that  the  whole  subject  be  laid  over  until  another  winter. 
For  many  reasons  I  should  be  glad  if  we  could  have  more  time 
to  perfect  the  measure.  It  would  be  well  if  we  could  give  two 
or  three  months  of  careful  study  to  the  problems  connected 

1  Mr.  Dawes. 

THE   TARIFF  BILL   OF  1866.  215 

with  this  bill.  But  gentlemen  must  remember  that  the  chances 
and  changes  of  the  next  five  or  six  months  may  be  disastrous 
to  our  industries,  if  we  do  not,  before  the  close  of  this  session, 
adopt  some  legislation  to  protect  them  against  sudden  danger. 
I  am  sorry,  therefore,  that  my  friend  from  Massachusetts  saw 
fit  to  offer  that  proposition ;  it  is  really  only  another  mode  of 
killing  the  bill,  and  I  can  hardly  believe  that  he  desires  such  a 

I  hope,  sir,  that  both  the  propositions  to  which  I  have  re- 
ferred will  be  voted  down ;  that  we  shall  amend  the  bill  in  sev- 
eral particulars,  making  it  as  equitable  as  possible  in  all  its 
provisions ;  and  that  we  shall  pass  it.  And  when  the  country 
comes  to  understand  clearly  what  we  have  done,  I  believe  that 
the  clamor  of  which  we  have  heard  so  much  will  cease,  and  that 
the  wisdom  of  the  measure  will  be  vindicated. 



September  i,  1866. 

FELLOW-<;iTIZENS,— The  great  conflict  of  arms  through 
which  the  nation  has  passed,  the  many  and  peculiar  con- 
sequences resulting  therefrom,  and  especially  the  new  duties 
devolving  upon  the  people,  must,  for  the  present  and  for  many 
years  to  come,  be  the  chief  topics  of  political  discussion.  The 
stupendous  facts  of  the  Rebellion  overshadow  and  involve  all 
other  political  considerations,  and  the  new  problems  arising 
out  of  the  contest  are  beset  with  difficulties  of  unusual  magni- 
tude. The  work  of  overcoming  these  difficulties  and  solving 
these  problems  has  been  committed  by  the  good  people  of  the 
United  States  to  their  representatives  in  the  legislative,  execu- 
tive and  judicial  departments  of  the  Federal  government,  and 
some  progress  has  been  made  during  the  past  year  in  overcom- 
ing them.  I  shall  undertake  to  show  you,  my  fellow-citizens, 
what  progress  the  servants  of  the  people  have  made  in  the 
discharge  of  these  high  duties.  I  shall  speak  of  the  progress 
made  during  the  past  year  in, — 
I.  Our  financial  affairs; 
II.   Our  military  affairs ; 

III.   The  restoration  of  the  States  lately  in  rebellion. 

First,  our  financial  affairs.  The  pecuniary  cost  of  the  war 
was  enormous,  and  without  a  parallel  in  history.  It  is  impos- 
sible even  to  comprehend  the  sum  expended.  It  can  only  be 
understood  when  compared  with  other  expenditures.  In  the 
statements  I  shall  make  concerning  the  cost  of  the  war,  let  it 
be  remembered  that  I  do  not  include  the  loss  occasioned  by 
the  withdrawal  of  more  than  two  millions  of  laborers  from  in- 
dustrial pursuits,  nor  the  vast  sums  expended  by  States,  counties, 


cities,  and  individuals  in  payment  of  bounties,  and  for  the  relief 
of  sick  and  wounded  soldiers  and  their  families,  nor  the  larger 
losses,  which  can  never  be  estimated,  of  property  destroyed  by 
hostile  armies.  The  cost  of  which  I  shall  speak  is  that  which 
appears  on  the  books  of  the  Federal  Treasury. 

For  three  quarters  of  a  century  the  debt  of  Great  Britain  has 
been  considered  the  financial  wonder  of  the  world.  That  debt, 
which  had  its  origin  in  the  Revolution  of  1688,  was  swelled  by 
more  than  one  hundred  years  of  wars,  and  other  political  dis- 
asters, till,  in  1793,  it  had  reached  the  sum  of  $1,268,000,000. 
From  that  time  till  1815,  a  period  of  twenty-two  years  of  terri- 
ble war,  England  was  engaged  in  a  life  and  death  struggle  with 
Napoleon,  —  the  greatest  war  of  history  save  our  own,  —  and 
at  its  close,  in  181 5,  she  had  added  $3,056,000,000  to  her  debt, 
a  sum  which  all  the  world  thought  must  bring  her  to  financial 
ruin.  From  the  30th  of  June,  i860,  to  the  30th  of  June,  1865, 
the  expenditures  of  the  government  of  the  United  States  were 
more  than  $3,500,000,000;  that  is,  in  five  years,  we  increased 
our  debt  $500,000,000  more  than  England  increased  hers  in 
twenty-two  years  of  her  greatest  war,  —  almost  as  much  as  she 
increased  it  in  one  hundred  and  twenty-five  years  of  war. 

But  let  us  compare  ourselves  with  ourselves.  Our  official 
records  show  that  the  total  cost  of  our  war  of  Independence 
was  $135,000,000,  and  the  total  expenditure  of  the  Federal 
government,  from  the  meeting  of  the  First  Congress  on  the  4th 
of  March,  1789,  to  June  30,  i860,  was  $2,015,000,000;  making 
the  total  expenditures  from  the  beginning  of  the  Revolution  in 
1775  to  the  beginning  of  the  Rebellion,  $2,150,000,000.  That 
is,  the  expenses  of  the  last  five  years  have  been  $1,350,000,000 
more  than  all  the  previous  expenses  since  the  government  was 

According  to  the  census  of  i860,  the  total  value  of  all  the 
real  and  personal  property  in  the  United  States  was  sixteen 
billions  of  dollars ;  the  cost  of  the  war  was  more  than  three 
and  a  half  billions,  —  that  is,  every  one  hundred  and  sixty  dol- 
lars' worth  of  property  became  liable  for  the  payment  of  thirty- 
five  dollars  of  war  expenses.  Our  debt  is  part  of  the  money 
price  which  the  nation  pledged  to  save  its  existence,  and  we 
are  bound  by  the  sense  of  gratitude,  of  honor,  and  of  patriotism 
to  redeem  that  pledge,  principal  and  interest,  to  the  uttermost 
farthing.     The  loyal  people  have  accepted  the  responsibility, 


and  cheerfully  consent  to  bear  the  burden  of  such  taxes  as 
would  hardly  be  endured  by  any  other  nation.  Indeed,  a  lead- 
ing English  journal  has  recently  declared  that,  if  Parliament 
should  impose  a  tax  upon  the  English  people  as  heavy  as  the 
one  now  paid  by  the  people  of  the  United  States,  it  would 
cause  a  rebellion  in  that  kingdom. 

More  than  $800,000,000  of  our  expenses  was  paid  by  taxa- 
tion while  the  war  was  in  progress,  and  during  the  last  fiscal 
year,  besides  paying  our  heavy  annual  expenses,  we  have  re- 
duced the  debt  $124,000,000;  so  that,  on  the  ist  of  August, 
1866,  our  debt  stood  at  $2,633,000,000.  Should  we  be  able  to 
reduce  it  at  the  same  rate  hereafter,  the  last  dollar  of  it  would 
be  paid  in  twenty-one  years.  Nearly  all  of  this  debt  is  held  by 
citizens  of  the  United  States,  who  loaned  their  money  to  the 
government  at  a  time  when  traitors  were  hoping,  and  faint- 
hearted friends  were  fearing,  that  our  cause  would  be  lost.  It 
was  a  sublime  and  inspiring  spectacle  to  see  the  loyal  millions, 
from  the  wealthy  capitalist  to  the  day  laborer,  offering  their 
substance  as  a  loan  to  the  government,  when  their  only  hope 
of  return  rested  in  their  faith  in  the  justice  of  our  cause  and 
the  success  of  our  arms.  There  were  single  days  in  which 
$25,000,000  was  thus  offered.  Less  than  half  the  debt  is  now 
in  long  bonds,  which  have  from  fifteen  to  thirty-five  years  to 
run,  but  $1,600,000,000  will  fall  due  within  two  years  and  a 
half.  As  they  cannot  be  paid  by  taxation  in  so  short  a  time. 
Congress  at  its  last  session  passed  a  loan  bill,  authorizing  the 
Secretary  of  the  Treasury  to  retire  these  short  bonds,  and  put 
out  in  their  stead  long  bonds,  if  practicable,  at  a  lower  rate 
of  interest.  The  bill,  however,  did  not  authorize  any  increase 
of  the  debt,  but  only  an  exchange  of  long  bonds  for  short  ones, 
which  is  now  being  effected. 

Intimately  connected  with  our  public  debt  is  our  national 
currency.  At  the  breaking  out  of  the  war,  the  currency  of  the 
country  consisted  of  gold  and  silver,  and  the  circulating  notes 
of  sixteen  hundred  banks,  organized  under  the  laws  of  the  dif- 
ferent States.  The  notes  of  these  banks,  not  being  based  upon 
any  uniform  security,  were  of  different  relative  value,  and  were 
always  of  less  value  as  they  were  farther  from  home.  Our  pa- 
per-money system  had  become  a  grievous  evil,  for  which  there 
seemed  to  be  no  remedy.  But  tjie  necessities  of  the  war  com- 
pelled the  government  to  take  some  new  step,  and  the  oppor- 


tunity  was  fortunately  seized  by  our  distinguished  Secretary  of 
the  Treasury,  Salmon  P.  Chase,  to  sweep  away  the  vicious  sys- 
tem of  State  banks,  which  had  grown  up  in  defiance  of  the  plain 
declaration  of  the  Constitution,  that  **  no  State  shall  emit  bills  of 
credit,  or  make  anything  but  gold  and  silver  coin  a  tender  in 
payment  of  debts,"  and  to  substitute  in  its  place  our  present  cir- 
culation of  greenbacks  and  national  bank  notes.  When  a  citizen 
holds  a  dollar  of  this  bank  paper  in  his  hand,  he  knows  that 
there  is  one  dollar  and  ten  cents  in  government  bonds  locked 
up  in  the  vaults  of  the  treasury  at  Washington  and  pledged 
for  its  redemption,  in  case  the  bank  should  fail.  This  dollar  is 
national,  and  not  local.    It  is  the  same  in  Minnesota  as  in  Maine. 

But  another  and  still  more  important  advantage  has  been 
gained  by  the  change  in  our  system  of  currency.  Under  the 
old  system,  the  general  government  had  no  control  over  the 
amount  of  currency  in  circulation.  Each  bank  issued  notes  in 
accordance  with  the  laws  of  the  State  in  which  it  was  organized. 
Now,  it  is  a  well-settled  principle  of  finance,  that  no  more 
money  is  needed  in  any  country  than  just  the  amount  necessary 
to  effect  the  payments  to  be  made  in  that  country.  If  there  be 
less  than  that  amount,  the  money  market  is  stringent,  and  ex- 
changes are  difficult;  if  there  be  more,  the  surplus  causes  a 
rise  in  prices,  or,  v/hat  is  the  same  thing,  a  depreciation  of  the 
value  of  each  dollar.  By  taking  the  control  of  the  currency 
into  its  own  hands,  Congress  was  enabled  to  regulate  the  amount 
of  circulation  in  accordance  with  the  necessities  of  business. 

The  vast  expenditures  of  the  war  required  a  large  increase 
of  the  volume  of  the  currency.  Before  the  war,  about  three 
hundred  millions  of  money  was  needed  for  the  business  of  the 
country.  Much  of  the  time  during  the  war,  we  had  more  than 
one  thousand  millions.  Now  that  we  are  returning  to  the  pur- 
suits of  peace,  it  becomes  necessary  to  reduce  the  amount  of 
our  paper  money,  and  thus  bring  prices  down  to  the  old  stan- 
dard. To  determine  whether  there  is  too  much  currency  in 
circulation  is  always  difficult,  but  the  best  criterion  is  the  price 
of  gold.  We  may  be  certain  that  in  times  of  peace,  when 
there  are  no  great  disturbing  political  causes  at  work,  if  a  paper 
dollar  is  worth  much  less  than  a  gold  dollar,  there  are  many 
more  paper  dollars  than  the  business  of  the  country  demands. 
Therefore,  in  the  Loan  Bill,  Congress  provides  for  a  gradual 
contraction  of  the  currency.     Under  the  operation  of  that  law. 


and  with  a  judicious  management  of  our  revenues,  we  may 
expect  a  gradual  decline  in  gold,  and  a  corresponding  fall  in 
prices,  until  we  shall  reach  the  solid  basis  of  gold  and  silver. 
An  uncertain  and  changeable  standard  of  value  is  a  great  finan- 
cial evil.  If  the  dollar  of  to-day  shall  be  worth  a  dollar  and  a 
half  in  six  months  from  now,  the  debtor  must  pay  fifty  cents 
more  than  he  promised;  if  in  six  months  the  dollar  shall  be 
worth  that  much  less,  the  creditor  would  suffer  a  similar  loss. 

Here  let  me  remark  that,  if  the  Democratic  party,  which  holds 
to  the  extreme  doctrine  of  State  rights,  should  come  into  power, 
they  would,  without  doubt,  sweep  away  our  national  currency 
system,  and  return  to  the  wretched  system  of  State  banks  and 
State  currency. 

The  maintenance  of  our  national  credit,  and  the  ultimate 
redemption  of  our  national  debt,  must  depend  mainly  on  a 
wise,  just,  but  severe  system  of  Federal  taxation.  Until  the 
beginning  of  the  late  war,  but  one  of  the  great  nations  of  the 
earth  was  so  lightly  taxed  as  our  own.  We  had  not  studied 
the  science  of  taxation,  because,  happily,  we  had  no  need  to 
do  so.  But  the  war  brought  the  heaviest  burdens  upon  our 
people,  and  when  the  Thirty-ninth  Congress  assembled,  we 
found  that  many  of  our  taxes  were  levied  upon  those  branches 
of  industry  which  were  least  able  to  bear  them.  Nearly  all 
our  revenues  are  derived  from  two  sources,  viz.  the  customs 
or  tariff  duties,  and  internal  taxes.  Congress  made  at  the  late 
session  a  thorough  revision  of  the  internal  revenue  system,  and 
it  is  believed  that  many  important  improvements  have  been 
made.  The  provisions  of  the  revenue  law  of  July  13,  1866,  are 
based  upon  the  following  general  principles :  — - 

1.  Taxes  which  tend  to  discourage  the  development  of  wealth 
should  be  abolished  or  greatly  reduced,  and  the  law  be  so  ad- 
justed that  the  burdens  shall  chiefly  fall  on  realized  property. 

2.  Taxes  should  not  be  duplicated  by  taxing  the  different 
processes  through  which  an  article  passes  in  being  manufac- 
tured, but  the  tax  should  be  laid  upon  the  finished  article  when 
ready  for  sale. 

3.  Articles  of  prime  necessity,  like  provisions,  clothing,  agri- 
cultural implements,  should  be  nearly  or  quite  exempt  from 
taxation,  and  the  public  burdens  should  fall  upon  articles  which 
minister  to  vice  and  luxury. 

Guided    by  these  general    principles,  and    finding   that   the 


ample  revenues  of  the  goverament  would  enable  us  to  reduce  the 
amount  of  taxation  seventy-five  millions,  Congress  proceeded 
to  exempt  entirely  from  taxation  building  materials,  such  as 
building  stone,  slate,  marble,  brick,  tiles,  window  glass,  paint, 
painter's  colors,  linseed  oil  and  other  vegetable  oils,  lime,  and 
Roman  cement;  also  repairs  of  all  kinds;  also  agricultural 
implements  and  products,  such  as  machinery  for  the  manufac- 
ture of  sugar,  syrup,  and  molasses  from  sorghum,  imphee,  beets 
and  com,  ploughs,  cultivators,  harrows,  planters,  seed  drills, 
hand  rakes,  grain  cradles,  reapers,  mowers,  threshing  machines, 
winnowing  mills,  corn  shellers,  and  cotton  gins ;  also  such  ar- 
ticles of  prime  necessity  as  gypsum,  and  fertilizers  of  all  kinds, 
maple,  beet,  sorghum,  and  beet  sugar,  and  molasses,  vinegar, 
saleratus,  starch,  and  soap  valued  at  less  than  three  cents  per 
pound;  also  American  steel  and  railroad  iron;  and,  finally, 
all  tombstones  valued  at  less  than  $ioo,  and  all  monuments, 
whether  erected  by  public  or  private  munificence,  to  commemo- 
rate the  service  of  Union  soldiers  who  fell  in  battle  or  died  in 
the  service.  They  reduced  the  tax  on  clothing  and  on  boots 
and  shoes  from  six  per  cent  to  two  per  cent ;  exempted  milliners 
and  dress-makers  from  tax,  and  exempted  shoemakers  and 
tailors  the  value  of  whose  work  exclusive  of  materials  does  not 
exceed  one  hundred  dollars  per  annum.  The  tax  on  slaughtered 
animals,  being  a  war  tax,  was  repealed.  Except  cotton  and  to- 
bacco, no  agricultural  product  is  now  taxed  at  all.  No  license 
or  special  tax  is  now  required  of  farmers,  while  all  other  pursuits 
and  professions  are  required  to  pay  such  a  tax,  from  ten  to  one 
thousand  dollars,  and  more,  in  proportion  to  the  amount  of  the 
business  done. 

As  an  illustration  of  the  vicious  system  of  duplication  of  taxes, 
it  was  found  that  by  the  time  an  American  book  was  sold  in  the 
market  there  had  been  paid  from  twelve  to  fifteen  separate  taxes 
upon  it.  Each  constituent  part  of  the  book  —  paper,  cloth, 
leather,  boards,  thread,  glue,  gold-leaf,  and  type  material  —  had 
paid  a  tax  of  from  three  to  five  per  cent,  and  the  finished  article, 
when  sold,  had  paid  a  tax  of  five  per  cent  upon  the  selling  price. 
The  law  was  therefore  so  amended  as  to  remove  the  tax  from  the 
separate  parts  and  processes,  and  levy  it  on  the  finished  product. 
On  this  principle  the  tax  on  mineral  coal,  pig-iron,  and  castings 
for  parts  of  machinery,  was  repealed,  and  placed  upon  the  ma- 
chine when  finished.     The  tax  was  removed  from  crude  petro- 


leum,  and  placed  upon  the  refined  article  when  ready  for  use. 
The  tax  on  stoves  and  hollow  ware  for  domestic  use  was  re- 
duced from  six  to  three  dollars  per  ton.  That  our  educational 
forces  might  not  be  weakened,  the  tax  on  books,  magazines, 
newspapers,  printing  paper,  and  all  printing  material,  was  greatly 
reduced.  The  heaviest  taxes  are  now  levied  on  distilled  spirits, 
ale,  beer,  tobacco,  cigars,  refined  petroleum,  cotton,  gas,  car- 
riages of  high  value,  and  gold  and  silver  plate ;  but  silver  table 
ware  used  by  any  one  family,  not  exceeding  forty  ounces,  is 
exempt  from  tax.  Fifty  per  cent  of  all  our  internal  taxes  arc 
raised  on  manufactures.  Stamp  taxes,  another  very  productive 
source  of  revenue,  are  nearly  all  paid  by  the  business  men  of  the 

Our  second  source  of  revenue  is  the  customs  duties  on  im- 
ported goods,  from  which  we  realize  about  one  third  of  all  our 
revenues.  A  carefully  revised  tariff  bill  passed  the  House,  but 
was  postponed  in  the  Senate  till  the  next  session.  It  provided 
for  increased  protection  on  American  wool,  linseed,  tobacco 
and  cigars,  iron  and  steel,  and  the  various  articles  manufactured 
from  them.  A  bill  was  passed,  however,  which  will  indirectly 
effect  a  considerable  increase  of  tariff  duties.  As  the  law  before 
stood,  the  ad  valorem  duties  on  imports  were  levied  on  the  price 
at  which  the  articles  were  purchased  in  the  foreign  country,  ex- 
clusive of  cost  of  transportation  to  the  seaboard  and  the  port 
charges.  Importers  bought  their  goods  far  in  the  interior,  and 
consequently  paid  the  duty  on  a  price  much  lower  than  the 
article  could  be  bought  for  at  the  point  of  export.  By  the  new 
law  the  duty  is  to  be  levied  on  the  articles  after  all  the  transpor- 
tation, storage,  weighagc,  wharfage,  and  port  charges  have  been 
added  to  the  original  purchase  price.  This  will  both  increase 
the  duties  and  protect  the  government  against  fraud. 

On  the  general  question  of  protection  there  are  great  extremes 
of  opinion  among  the  people  of  the  United  States,  and  these  ex- 
tremes appear  in  full  strength  among  their  representatives  in 
Congress.  One  class  would  have  us  place  so  high  a  duty  upon 
foreign  merchandise  as  to  prohibit  the  importation  of  any  ar- 
ticle which  this  country  produces  or  can  produce.  Besides 
placing  us  in  an  attitude  of  perpetual  hostility  to  other  nations, 
and  greatly  reducing  our  carrying  trade,  this  policy  would  tend 
to  make  monopolists  of  all  the  leading  manufacturers  of  this 
country,  who  could  fix  the  price  of  all  their  products  at  their 
own  discretion. 



If,  on  the  other  hand,  we  should  adopt  the  theories  of  the 
radical  free-trader,  and  declare  that  our  tariff  shall  be  all  for 
revenue  and  nothing  for  protection,  and  particularly  should  that 
doctrine  be  put  in  practice  at  such  a  time  as  1836,  when  we  had 
no  debt,  and  a  large  surplus  in  the  treasury,  no  one  can  fail  to 
see  that  we  should  break  down  the  dikes  which  our  predecessors 
have  erected  for  the  defence  of  American  industries  which  pro- 
duce nearly  one  half  the  annual  income  of  the  people.  It  would 
revolutionize  our  industrial  system,  and  place  us  at  the  mercy 
of  foreign  manufacturers.  Let  either  of  these  parties  frame  the 
tariff,  and  the  result  will  be  calamitous  in  the  highest  degree. 

One  of  the  worst  features  of  our  industrial  system  is  the 
irregularity  and  the  uncertainty  of  the  legislation  in  reference 
to  the  tariff.  It  subjects  the  business  of  manufacturers  to  the 
uncertainty  of  a  lottery.  If  the  high  protectionists  succeed  one 
year,  the  profits  •  of  the  manufacturers  are  enormous ;  if,  as  is 
quite  probable,  the  reaction  of  the  next  year  puts  free-traders 
in  power,  their  losses  are  equally  great.  What,  then,  is  the 
point  of  equilibrium  where  we  can  balance  these  great  indus- 
tries with  the  most  reasonable  hope  of  permanence  ?  We  have 
seen  that  one  extreme  school  of  economists  would  place  the 
price  of  all  manufactured  articles  in  the  hands  of  foreign  pro- 
ducers, by  rendering  it  impossible  for  our  manufacturers  to 
compete  with  them;  while  the  other  extreme  school,  by  making 
it  impossible  for  the  foreigners  to  sell  their  competing  wares  in 
our  market,  would  leave  no  check  upon  the  prices  which  our 
manufacturers  might  fix  upon  their  products.  I  hold,  therefore, 
that  a  properly  adjusted  competition  between  home  and  foreign 
products  is  the  best  gauge  by  which  to  regulate  international 
trade.  Duties  should  be  so  high  that  our  manufacturers  can 
fairly  compete  with  foreign  manufacturers,  but  not  so  high  as 
to  enable  them  to  drive  out  foreign  articles,  enjoy  a  monopoly, 
and  regulate  the  prices  as  they  please.  To  this  extent  I  am  a 
protectionist.  If  our  government  pursues  this  line  of  policy 
steadily,  we  shall,  year  by  year,  approach  more  nearly  the  basis 
of  free  trade,  because  we  shall  be  more  nearly  able  to  compete 
with  other  nations  on  equal  terms.  I  am  for  that  protection 
which  leads  to  ultimate  free  trade ;  I  am  for  that  free  trade 
which  can  be  achieved  only  through  protection. 

Secondly,  our  military  affairs.  When  the  Rebellion  col- 
lapsed, in  1865,  we  had  on  the  rolls  of  the  army  and  in  the  pay 


of  the  government  over  one  million  soldiers.  A  few  weeks  later 
a  larger  army  than  was  ever  actually  engaged  in  one  battle,  with 
a  rare  perfection  of  discipline  and  completeness  of  military  out- 
fit, marched  in  review  before  the  President  and  his  Cabinet  at 
Washington ;  mustered  out  of  service,  these  soldiers  quietly  re- 
sumed the  pursuits  of  peace,  and  mingled  again  with  the  mass 
of  citizens.  There  had  been  in  the  field  more  than  two  millions 
of  Union  soldiers,  of  whom  two  hundred  and  fifty  thousand  per- 
ished in  battle  and  by  disease,  and  almost  as  many  more  came 
home  nearly  or  quite  disabled  by  the  accidents  of  war.  In 
January  last  the  army  had  been  reduced  to  one  hundred  and 
twenty-three  thousand  men,  and  Congress  has  now  fixed  its 
numbers  for  the  future  at  about  fifty-five  thousand.  In  reor- 
ganizing the  army,  and  adding  new  regiments.  Congress  has  pro- 
vided that  all  company  officers  needed  to  fill  the  places  result- 
ing from  the  increase  of  the  regular  army,  and  two  thirds  of  the 
field  officers,  shall  be  taken  from  the  volunteers,  to  be  selected 
from  officers  or  enlisted  men,  no  distinction  being  made  between 
them.  But  applicants  must  produce  evidence  of  good  character 
and  capacity,  stand  an  examination  before  a  board,  and  show,  in 
addition  to  their  testimonials,  that  they  have  faithfully  and  effi- 
ciently served,  cither  as  officers  or  men,  at  some  time  during  the 
war  against  the  Rebellion.  Congress  has  also  provided  that  four 
regiments  of  infantry  and  two  regiments  of  cavalry  shall  be  col- 
ored men,  and  their  officers  shall  be  selected  from  those  officers 
who  commanded  colored  troops  during  the  war.  It  is  also  pro- 
vided that  four  regiments  shall  be  made  up  of  officers  and  en- 
listed men  who  received  injuries  while  in  the  service  of  their 
country,  but  are  still  able  to  perform  garrison  duty  and  other 
light  service. 

The  pension  list  has  been  largely  increased,  and  the  pensions 
of  soldiers  and  sailors  who  have  lost  both  arms  or  both  legs  have 
been  doubled.  No  patriot  will  object  to  the  increased  burden 
imposed  upon  him  in  discharging  his  sacred  duty  to  those 
heroic  sufferers. 

The  legislation  in  reference  to  equalizing  bounties  was  not  so 
satisfactory.  It  was  very  desirable  to  pass  some  law  by  which 
the  bounties  to  volunteers  should  be  made  to  approach  equality. 
A  considerable  portion  of  the  army  received  no  bounties,  while 
others  received  large  local,  State,  and  national  bounties.  It  is 
a  difficult  question  to  settle  on  any  just  basis  without  involving 


the  government  in  a  dangerous  increase  of  the  public   debt. 
After  mature  deliberation  the  Military  Committee  of  the  House 
brought  in  a  bill  which  provided  that  every  soldier  who  had  re- 
ceived no  bounty  should  be  paid  eight  and  one  third  dollars  for 
every  month  of  honorable  service,  which  would  be  one  hundred 
dollars  for  each  full  year.     If  he  had  received  a  bounty,  but  less 
than  that  amount,  the  government  should  {:>ay  him  the  deficit ; 
so  that  every  soldier  in  the  Union  army  should  receive  a  bounty 
of  at  least  one  hundred  dollars  for  each  year  of  honorable  ser- 
vice.    This  bill  passed  the  House  by  the  unanimous  vote  of  the 
Union  members,  but  the  Senate  took  no  action  upon  it.     Near 
the  close  of  the  session  the  Senate  added  to  an  appropriation 
bill  a  section  increasing  the  pay  of  members  of  Congress.     The 
House  refused  to  concur,  but  added  in  place  of  that  section  the 
House  Bounty  Bill.     The  Senate  refused  to  concur,  but  after 
several   conferences    between   the   two   houses,  a  section   was 
agreed  upon  which  gives  a  bounty  of  one  hundred  dollars  to 
every  soldier  who  enlisted  and  served  three  years,  and  who  has 
not  already  received  more  than  one  hundred  dollars  bounty,  and 
a  bounty  of  fifty  dollars  to  every  soldier  who  enlisted  and  served 
for  the  term  of  two  years,  and  who  has  not  already  received  a 
bounty  of  more  than  one  hundred  dollars.     The  operation  of 
this  section    is   confined   exclusively  to  these   two  classes ;    it 
gives  no  more  for  four  years'  service  than  for  three,  and  gives 
nothing  to  those  soldiers  who    enlisted  for   a    less  term   than 
two  years.     It  is  much  less  just  than  the  flouse  bill,  and,  since 
it  was  coupled  with  a  section  which  increases  the  pay  of  mem- 
bers of  Congress,  I  voted  against  both  sections.     They  passed 
the  House,    however,  by  a  majority  of  one,  and   became  law. 
It  is  hoped  and  believed   that  the  original  flouse  bill,  or  some 
equivalent  measure,  will  become  a  law  at  the  next  session. 

Although  measures  of  financial  and  military  legislation  are 
worthy  of  the  earnest  attention  of  every  citizen,  I  fear  I  have 
already  dwelt  too  long  upon  them.  I  therefore  invite  your 
attention  to  the  questions  that  so  nearly  concern  our  future 
peace,  that  form  the  great  issues  which  must  be  settled  by  the 
ballots  of  the  people  at  the  coming  election. 

Thirdly,  the  restoration  of  the  late  Rebel  States.  For  a  clear 
understanding  of  the  issues,  let  us  consider  the  character  of  the 
contest  through  which  we  have  passed. 

The  Rebellion  had  its  origin  in  two  causes;   first,  the  political 

VOL.  I.  15 


theory  of  State  Sovereignty,  and  second,  the  historical  accident 
of  American  slavery.  The  doctrine  of  State  Sovereignty,  or 
State  Rights  as  it  has  been  more  mildly  designated,  was  first 
publicly  announced  in  the  Virginia  Resolutions  of  1798,  but  was 
more  fully  elaborated  and  enforced  by  Calhoun  in  1830  and 
1833.  Since  that  time  it  has  been  acknowledged  as  a  funda- 
mental principle  in  the  creed  of  the  Democratic  party,  and  has 
been  affirmed  and  reaffirmed  in  some  form  in  nearly  all  its  State 
and  national  platforms  for  the  last  thirty  years.  That  doctrine, 
as  stated  by  Calhoun  in  1833,  is  in  substance  this:  "The  Con- 
stitution of  the  United  States  is  a  compact  to  which  the  people 
of  each  State  acceded  as  a  separate  and  sovereign  community ; 
therefore  it  has  an  equal  right  to  judge  for  itself  as  well  of  the 
infraction  as  of  the  mode  and  measure  of  redress.'*  The  same 
party  identified  itself  with  the  interests  of  American  slavery,  and, 
lifting  from  it  the  great  weight  of  odium  which  the  fathers  of  the 
republic  had  laid  upon  it,  became  its  champion  and  advocate. 

When  the  party  of  freedom  had  awakened  the  conscience  of 
the  nation,  and  had  gained  such  strength  as  to  show  the  De- 
mocracy that  slavery  was  forever  checked  in  its  progress,  and 
that  its  ultimate  extinction  by  legislative  authority  was  fore- 
doomed, the  Democratic  leaders  of  the  South  joined  in  a  mad 
conspiracy  to  save  and  perpetuate  slavery  by  destroying  the 
Union.  In  the  name  of  State  Sovereignty  they  declared  that 
secession  was  a  constitutional  right,  and  they  resolved  to  en- 
force it  by  arms.  They  declared  that,  as  the  Constitution  to 
which  each  State  in  its  sovereign  capacity  acceded  created  no 
common  judge  to  which  a  matter  of  difference  could  be  referred, 
each  State  might  also  in  its  sovereign  capacity  secede  from  the 
compact,  might  dissolve  the  Union,  might  annihilate  the  repub- 
lic. The  Democracy  of  eleven  slave  States  undertook  the  work. 
As  far  as  possible,  they  severed  every  tie  that  bound  them  to 
the  Union.  They  withdrew  their  representatives  from  every 
department  of  the  Federal  government;  they  seized  all  the 
Federal  property  within  the  limits  of  their  States;  they  abol- 
ished all  the  Federal  courts  and  every  other  vestige  of  Federal 
authority  within  their  reach ;  they  changed  all  their  State  con- 
stitutions, transferring  their  allegiance  to  a  gov^ernmcnt  of  their 
own  creation,  styled  the  '*  Confederate  States  of  America " ; 
they  assumed  sovereign  power,  and,  gathering  up  every  possi- 
ble element  of  force,  assailed  the  Union  in  the  most  savage  and 


merciless  war  known  to  civilized  nations.  It  was  not,  as  some 
maintain,  merely  a  lawless  insurrection  of  individual  traitors; 
it  was  '*  a  civil  territorial  war,"  waged  by  eight  millions  of  trai- 
tors, acting  through  eleven  traitor  States  consolidated  into  a 
gigantic  despotism  of  treason,  —  a  government  de  facto ^  to 
which  the  laws  of  nations  accorded  belligerent  rights.  The 
Confederacy  was  acknowledged  as  a  belligerent  by  all  the  lead- 
ing nations  of  Europe,  and  at  last  by  every  department  of  the 
government  of  the  United  States;  by  the  Supreme  Court  in 
the  celebrated  prize  cases  of  1862,  and  by  repeated  acts  of  both 
the  executive  and  legislative  departments. 

Never  was  an  issue  more  clearly  made  up  or  more  desper- 
ately contested.  The  Confederates  fought  for  slavery  and  the 
right  of  secession,  for  the  destruction  of  the  Union  and  the 
establishment  of  a  government  based  on  slavery ;  the  loyal 
millions  fought  to  destroy  the  Rebellion  and  its  causes.  They 
fought  to  save  slavery  by  means  of  disunion;  we  fought  to 
establish  both  liberty  and  union,  and  to  make  them  one  and 
inseparable  now  and  forever.  It  was  a  life  and  death  struggle 
between  ideas  that  could  no  longer  dwell  together  in  the  same 
political  society.  There  could  be  no  compromise,  there  could 
be  no  peace,  while  both  were  left  alive.  The  one  must  perish 
if  the  other  triumphed. 

There  was  no  compromise.  The  struggle  was  continued  to 
the  bitter  end.  In  the  larger  meaning  of  the  word,  there  was 
no  surrender.  The  Rebels  did  not  lay  down  their  arms,  for  the 
soldiers  of  the  Union  wrenched  them  from  their  grasp.  They 
did  not  strike  their  traitor  flag;  it  was  shot  down  by  loyal  bul- 
lets. The  Rebel  army  never  was  disbanded ;  its  regiments  and 
brigades  were  mustered  out  by  the  shot  and  shell  of  our  victo- 
rious armies.  They  never  pulled  down  the  Confederate  govern- 
ment, but  its  blazing  rafters  fell  amidst  the  conflagration  of  war, 
and  its  ashes  were  scattered  by  the  whirlwind  of  battle. 

And  now,  fellow-citizens,  after  the  completest  victory  ever 
won  by  human  valor,  —  a  victory  for  the  Union  which  was  all 
victory  and  no  concession,  —  after  a  defeat  of  the  Rebels,  which 
was  all  defeat  and  no  surrender,  —  we  arc  asked  to  listen  to  the 
astonishing  proposition  that  this  war  had  no  results  beyond  the 
mere  fact  of  victory.  A  great  political  party  is  asking  the  suf- 
frages of  the  people  in  support  of  the  unutterably  atrocious 
assertion   that  these   red-handed   and  vanquished  traitors  have 


lost  no  rights  or  privileges  by  their  defeat,  and  the  victors  have 
acquired  no  rights  over  traitors  and  treason  as  the  fruit  of  their 
victory !  These  antediluvian  philosophers  seem  to  have  turned 
down  a  leaf  in  the  record  of  the  life  of  the  republic  in  April, 
1861,  and  they  propose  now,  in  the  year  of  grace  1866,  to  begin 
again  where  they  ceased  reading  five  years  ago,  as  if  there  had 
been  no  crime,  no  treason,  no  deluge  of  blood,  no  overthrow  of 
rebellion,  no  triumph  of  liberty.  Fellow-citizens,  who  are  the 
men  that  advocate  this  monstrous  doctrine?  I  cannot  answer 
this  question  without  discussing  freely  the  public  conduct  of 
the  President  of  the  United  States. 

For  the  first  eight  months  after  the  collapse  of  the  Rebellion, 
I  did  not  hear  that  any  man  making  the  smallest  claim  to  loy 
alty  presumed  to  deny  the  right  of  the  government  to  impose 
conditions  upon  the  States  and  people  lately  in  rebellion.  Cer- 
tainly the  President  did  not.  Both  in  his  executive  acts  and  in 
repeated  declarations,  he  affirmed  again  and  again  the  right  of 
the  government  to  demand  security  for  the  future,  —  to  require 
the  performance  of  certain  acts  on  the  part  of  the  Rebel  States 
as  preliminary  to  restoration. 

You  will  remember,  fellow-citizens,  that  when  I  addressed 
you  in  the  spring  of  1865,  shortly  after  the  assassination  of 
President  Lincoln,  I  expressed  the  belief  that  Andrew  Johnson 
would  treat  traitors  with  the  severity  their  crimes  demanded. 
There  was  a  general  apprehension  that  he  might  be  too  severe, 
and  demand  conditions  so  hard  as  to  make  the  restoration  of 
the  Rebel  States  a  work  of  great  difficulty.  It  was  said  that  he 
knew  from  personal  experience  what  the  Rebellion  was,  and 
what  treatment  treason  deserved.  The  American  people  re- 
membered his  repeated  declarations  on  this  whole  subject. 
They  remembered  his  bold  speech  at  Nashville,  on  the  9th  of 
June,  1864,  when  he  accepted  the  nomination  for  the  Vice- 
Presidency,  and  used  the  following  language :  — 

"Why  all  this  carnage  and  devastation?  It  was  that  treason  might  be 
put  down  and  traitors  punished.  Therefore,  I  say  that  traitors  should 
take  a  back  seat  in  the  work  of  restoration.  If  there  be  but  five  thousand 
men  in  Tennessee  loyal  to  the  Constitution,  loyal  to  freedom,  loyal  to 
justice,  these  true  and  faithful  men  should  control  the  work  of  reorganiza- 
tion and  reformation  absolutely.  I  say  that  the  traitor  has  ceased  to  be 
a  citizen,  and  in  joining  the  Rebellion  has  become  a  public  enemy.  He 
forfeited  his  right  to  vote  with  loyal  men  when  he  renounced  his  citizen- 


ship  and  sought  to  destroy  our  government My  judgment  is  that 

he  should  be  subjected  to  a  severe  ordeal  before  he  is  restored  to  citi- 
zenship  Ah  !  these  Rebel  leaders  have  a  strong  personal  reason 

for  holding  out  to  save  their  necks  from  the  halter ;  and  these  leaders 
must  feel  the  power  of  the.  government.  Treason  must  be  made  odious, 
and  traitors  must  be  punished  and  impoverished.  Their  great  planta- 
tions must  be  seized  and  divided  into  small  farms,  and  sold  to  honest,  in- 
dustrious men.  The  day  for  protecting  the  lands  and  negroes  of  these 
authors  of  the  Rebellion  is  past."  ^ 

They  remembered  his  speeches  at  Washington  after  his  in- 
auguration, in  which  the  same  sentiments  were  repeated.  They 
remembered  that  in  his  address  to  Governor  Morton  and  the 
Indiana  delegation,  on  the  21st  of  April,  1865,  six  days  after 
the  pistol  of  Booth  made  him  President  of  the  United  States,  he 
said :  — 

"  It  is  not  promulgating  anything  that  I  have  not  heretofore  said,  to 
say  that  traitors  must  be  made  odious,  that  treason  must  be  made  odious, 
that  traitors  must  be  punished  and  impoverished.  They  must  not  only 
be  punished,  but  their  social  power  must  be  destroyed.  If  not,  they 
will  still  maintain  an  ascendency,  and  may  again  become  numerous  and 
powerful ;  for,  in  the  words  of  a  former  Senator  of  the  United  States, 
*  when  traitors  become  numerous  enough,  treason  becomes  respectable.* 
And  I  say  that,  after  making  treason  odious,  every  Union  man  and  the 
government  should  be  remunerated  out  of  the  pockets  of  those  who  have 
inflicted  this  great  suffering  upon  the  country Some  time  the  re- 
bellion may  go  on  increasing  in  numbers  till  the  State  machinery  is  over- 
turned, and  the  country  becomes  like  a  man  that  is  paralyzed  on  one 
side.  But  we  find  in  the  Constitution  a  great  panacea  provided.  It 
provides  that  the  United  States  (that  is,  the  great  integer)  shall  guarantee 
to  each  State  (the  integers  composing  the  whole)  in  this  Union  a  repub- 
lican form  of  government.  Yes,  if  rebellion  had  been  rampant,  and  set 
aside  the  machinery  of  a  State  for  a  time,  there  stands  the  great  law  to 
remove  the  paralysis,  and  revitalize  it,  and  put  it  on  its  feet  again."  ^ 

It  is  true,  however,  that  there  were  even  then  those  who  ex- 
pressed doubts  of  his  sincerity,  and  feared  he  would  betray  his 
trust.  When,  during  the  months  of  May,  June,  and  July,  1865, 
they  saw  him  appointing  Provisional  Governors  for  seven  of 
the  Rebel  States,  and  ordering  the  assembling  of  conventions 
to  form  new  constitutions  and  rebuild  their  State  governments, 
many  thought  he  should  have  called  upon  Congress  to  assemble 
and  perform  the  duty  enjoined   upon  it  in  the  Constitution  of 

*  McPhcrson's  History  of  Reconstruction,  pp.  46,  47,  note.        ^  ibid.,  pp.  45,  46. 


guaranteeing  to  every  State  in  the  Union  a  republican  form  of 
government.  But  the  confidence  of  the  people  was  kept  alive 
by  his  repeated  declarations  to  the  Governors  and  conventions 
that  his  work  was  only  provisional,  and  must  all  be  submitted 
to  Congress  for  its  action. 

On  the  29th  of  May,  1865,  he  published  his  amnesty  procla- 
mation, and  on  the  same  day  appointed  William  W.  Holdcn 
Provisional  Governor  of  North  Carolina.  In  the  proclamation  of 
appointment  he  declared  that  whereas  "  the  Constitution  of  the 
United  States  declares  that  the  United  States  shall  guarantee  .to 
every  State  in  the  Union  a  republican  form  of  government,  .... 
and  whereas  the  Rcbellicn  has  in  its  rezwliiiionary  progress  de- 
prived the  people  of  the  State  of  North  Carolina  of  all  civil  govern- 
mcnty'  he  therefore  appointed  William  W.  Holden  Provisional 
Governor,  "  with  authority  to  exercise  within  the  limits  of  said 
State  all  the  powers  necessary  and  proper  to  enable  such  loyal 
people  of  North  Carolina  to  restore  said  State  to  its  constitu- 
tional relations  to  the  Federal  government,  and  to  present  such 
a  republican  form  of  State  government  as  will  entitle  the  State 
to  the  guaranty  of  the  United  States  therefor,  and  its  people  to 
protection  by  the  United  States."  ^  On  the  same  terms  seven 
other  Governors  were  appointed.  On  the  12th  of  September, 
the  Secretary  of  State,  by  direction  of  the  President,  wrote  to 
Governor  Marvin,  of  Florida,  a  letter,  which  concluded  in  these 
words:  "It  must,  however,  be  distinctly  understood  that  the 
restoration  to  which  your  proclamation  refers  will  be  subject  to 
the  decision  of  Congress."  ^ 

But  the  confidence  of  the  people  did  not  rest  solely  upon  the 
fact  that  the  President  held  that  all  his  work  was  provisional, 
and  must  be  referred  to  Congress  for  its  final  settlement.  Their 
confidence  was  still  further  strengthened  by  his  repeated  official 
declarations  that  guaranties  must  be  demanded  of  the  Rebel 
States  before  they  could  be  restored  to  their  practical  relations 
to  the  Union. 

On  the  28th  of  October,  the  Secretary  of  State  wrote  to  the 
Provisional  Governor  of  Georgia  as  follows :  **  The  President 
of  the  United  States  cannot  recognize  the  people  of  any  State  as 
having  resumed  the  relations  of  loyalty  to  the  Union  that  ad- 
mits as  legal,  obligations  contracted  or  debts  created  in  their 
name  to  promote  the  war  of  the  Rebellion."  ^ 

1  McPherson's  History  of  Reconstruction,  p.  11.  a  Ibid.,  p.  25. 

8  Ibid.,  p.  21. 


On  the  1st  of  November,  he  wrote  to  the  Provisional  Gov- 
ernor of  Florida  the  following :  "  Your  letter  of  October  7  was 
received  and  submitted  to  the  President.  He  is  gratified  with  the 
favorable  progress  toward  reorganization  in  Florida,  and  directs 
me  to  say  that  he  regards  the  ratification  by  the  legislature  of 
the  Congressional  Amendment  [Thirteenth]  of  the  Constitution 
of  the  United  States  as  indispensable  to  a  successful  restora- 
tion of  the  true  legal  relations  between  Florida  and  the  other 
States,  and  equally  indispensable  to  the  return  of  peace  and 
harmony  throughout  the  republic."  ^ 

On  the  6th  of  November  he  wrote  to  the  Provisional  Gover- 
nor of  South  Carolina  these  words :  **  Your  despatch  to  the  Pres- 
ident, of  November  4,  has  been  received.  He  is  not  entirely  sat- 
isfied with  the  explanations  it  contains.  He  deems  necessary  the 
passage  of  adequate  ordinances  declaring  that  all  insurrectionary 
proceedings  in  the  State  were  unlawful  and  void  ab  initio^  ^ 

In  these  utterances  the  President  had  plainly  demanded  at 
least  three  conditions  indispensable  to  restoration :  — 

1st.  That  the  Rebel  States  should  declare  their  ordinances  of 
secession  void  ab  initio, 

2d.  That  they  should  ratify  the  Constitutional  Amendment 
abolishing  slavery. 

3d.  That  they  should  repudiate  the  Rebel  debt,  and  that  their 
whole  conduct  in  the  premises  should  be  referred  to  Congress 
for  its  action. 

But  during  the  months  of  autumn  there  were  rumors  in  the 
air  which  troubled  the  peace  of  patriotic  citizens.  It  was  whis- 
pered that  the  President  was  going  over  to  our  political  enemies. 
It  was  observed  that  the  tone  of  the  Democratic  and  Rebel 
press  had  wonderfully  changed  toward  him.  P>om  the  begin- 
ning of  the  war  till  the  summer  of  1865,  Southern  traitors  and 
Northern  Democrats  had  vied  with  each  other  in  their  denun- 
ciation of  his  public  acts,  —  of  his  political  and  private  charac- 
ter. The  Rebels  had  all  along  denounced  him  as  a  renegade,  a 
traitor  to  his  country,  a  low-born  boor ;  while  Northern  Demo- 
cratic journals,  like  the  New  York  World,  had  denounced  him 
as  a  turncoat,  a  tyrant,  a  boorish  tailor,  a  drunken  brute,  less 
respectable  than  Nero's  horse.  But  as  the  fall  elections  of  1865 
approached,  they  began  to  speak  of  him  as  an  old-fashioned 
Democrat  who  had  not  forgotten  the  lessons  of  his  youth,  and 

1  McPhcrson's  History  of  Reconstruction,  p.  25.  ^  Ibid.,  p.  23. 


who  would  yet  turn  his  back  upon  the  Union  party,  and  return 
to  the  embrace  of  his  former  friends.  The  people  were  alarmed 
at  these  manifestations,  but  were  somewhat  reassured  by  the 
declarations  of  the  President  made  to  Major  George  L.  Stearns 
on  the  3d  of  October,  when  he  said :  — 

"  The  power  of  those  persons  who  made  the  attempt  [at  rebellion] 
has  been  crushed,  and  now  we  want  to  reconstruct  the  State  govern- 
ments and  have  the  power  to  do  it.  The. State  institutions  are  prostrated, 
laid  out  on  the  ground,  and  they  must  be  taken  up  and  adapted  to  the 

progress  of  events We  must  not  be  in  too  much  of  a  hurry.     It 

is  better  to  let  them  reconstruct  themselves  than  to  force  them  to  it; 
for  if  they  go  wrong  the  power  is  in  our  hands,  and  we  can  check  them 

in  any  stage  tp  the  end,  and  oblige  them  to  correct  their  errors 

In  Tennessee  I  should  try  to  introduce  negro  suffrage  gradually ;  first, 
those  who  have  served  in  the  army,  those  who  could  read  and  write,  and 
perhaps  a  property  qualification  for  others,  say  $200  or  I250."  ^ 

When  Congress  met,  in  December  last,  there  was  great  anx- 
iety and  no  little  alarm.  From  the  first  hour  of  the  session,  the 
little  junto  of  Rebel  sympathizers  known  as  the  Democratic 
party  in  Congress  became  the  eulogists  and  defenders  of  the 
President.  Their  denunciations  of  the  Union  party  echoed  fa- 
miliarly as  of  old  through  the  halls  of  the  Capitol ;  but  their 
censures  were  turned  to  praises,  their  curses  to  blessings,  when 
they  spoke  of  the  President  elected  by  the  Union  party. 

But  even  then  we  did  not  lose  all  our  faith  in  Andrew  Johnson. 
Mis  annual  message,  though  carefully  worded,  reiterated  many  of 
his  former  declarations,  and  the  most  radical  men  in  Congress 
thanked  him,  and  took  new  courage.    In  that  message  he  said :  — 

"  It  is  not  too  much  to  ask,  in  the  name  of  the  whole  people,  that  on 
the  one  side  the  pkm  of  restoration  shall  proceed  in  conformity  with  a 
willingness  to  cast  the  disorders  of  the  past  into  oblivion  ;  and  that,  on 
the  other,  the  evidence  of  sincerity  in  the  future  maintenance  of  the 
Union  shall  be  put  beyond  any  doubt  by  the  ratification  of  the  proposed 
amendment  to  the  Constitution,  which  provides  for  the  abolition  of  slav- 
ery forever  within  the  limits  of  our  country.  So  long  as  the  adoption  of 
this  amendment  is  delayed,  so  long  will  doubt  and  jealousy  and  uncer- 
tainty prevail Indeed,  it  is  not  too  much  to  ask  of  the  States  which 

are  now  resuming  their  places  in  the  family  of  the  Union  to  give  this 
pledge  of  perpetual  loyalty  and  peace.  Until  it  is  done,  the  past,  how- 
ever much  we  may  desire  it,  will  not  be  forgotten.**  ^ 

1  McPherson's  History  of  Reconstruction,  p.  49.  ^  ibij.,  p.  65. 


But  hardly  was  the  printer's  ink  dry  on  the  pages  of  the 
message,  when  the  President  began  to  insist  on  the  immediate 
admission  of  representatives  from  the  Rebel  States.  In  this 
demand  he  was  clamorously  seconded  by  the  Democrats  in  Con- 
gress, by  every  Democratic  orator  and  editor  in  the  North,  and 
by  every  Rebel  of  the  South.  Let  it  be  remembered  that  the 
demand  was  made  for  months  before  even  Andrew  Johnson 
claimed  that  the  Rebellion  was  legally  ended.  It  was  not  until 
the  2d  of  April,  1866,  that  he  declared  by  proclamation  that 
the  Rebellion  had  ceased  in  ten  of  the  States ;  and  even  then 
he  did  not  consider  it  ended  in  Texas.  It  was  not  until  the 
meeting  of  the  Philadelphia  Convention,  two  weeks  ago,  that 
he  declared  the  Rebellion  suppressed  in  that  State. 

Who  were  those  representatives  for  whom  admittance  into 
Congress  was  demanded  ?  Of  the  eighty- seven  elected  from 
Rebel  States,  not  ten  ever  made  professions  of  loyalty.  Fifteen 
had  been  generals  or  colonels  in  the  Rebel  army,  or  members  of 
the  Rebel  Congress,  or  of  Secession  conventions. 

The  President  did  not  long  leave  us  in  doubt.  In  his  address 
to  a  Rebel  delegation  from  Virginia,  on  the  loth  of  February, 
1866,  he  intimated  his  purpose  of  uniting  with  them,  and  with 
them  sweeping  round  the  circle  of  the  Union,  and  putting  down 
certain  Radicals,  whose  policy  he  denounced  as  "  a  rebellion  at 
the  other  end  of  the  line."  On  the  22d  of  February,  he  ad- 
dressed a  vast  concourse  of  Northern  Democrats,  of  Rebels  in 
Confederate  gray,  and  of  Secession  sympathizers  who  had  never 
been  out  of  their  holes  to  bask  in  the  sunshine  of  Presidential 
favor  since  Buchanan  betrayed  his  country,  all  of  whom  had 
assembled  to  thank  him  for  having  refused  to  give  military  pro- 
tection to  the  frecdmen  of  the  South.  His  utterances  in  that 
speech  are  only  too  well  remembered ;  I  shall  not  repeat  them 

Congress  then  undertook  to  extend  the  protection  of  the  civil 
courts  over  the  black  loyalists.  The  President  refused  his  sig- 
nature, but  your  loyal  representatives  were  able  to  pass  it  over 
his  head.  About  the  same  time  the  men  of  Connecticut  were 
struggling  to  elect,  as  their  Governor,  a  gallant  soldier  who  had 
fought  for  the  Union  with  distinguished  honor  from  the  begin- 
ning to  the  end  of  the  war.  He  was  opposed  by  the  whole 
strength  of  that  Rebel-loving  Democracy,  headed  by  Eaton  and 
Toucey,  whose  "  bad  eminence  "  is  a  part  of  the  history  of  the 


Rebellion.  A  Democratic  member  of  the  Thirty-eighth  Con- 
gress was  their  candidate  for  Governor,  and  Andrew  Johnson 
threw  the  weight  of  his  great  patronage  into  the  scale,  recom- 
mended the  Federal  office-holders  to  work  for  English,  and 
sent  a  score  of  his  new-found  friends  from  Washington  to 
urge  the  people  to  defeat  the  Union  general.  Thanks  to  the 
loyalty  of  the  people  of  Connecticut,  they  were  able  to  defeat 
both  President  and  Democracy,  and  General  Hawley  was  made 
Governor  by  a  few  hundred  votes. 

The  true  men  of  the  Cabinet  still  remained  in  their  places,  in 
the  faint  hope  that  he  might  yet  come  back  to  the  party.  But 
Andrew  Johnson  was  content  with  no  half-way  measure.  He 
resolved  on  nothing  less  than  the  defeat  and  overthrow  of  the 
Union  party.  By  the  aid  of  a  Senator  and  an  ex-Governor  of 
Wisconsin,^  who  had  been  repudiated  by  the  loyal  men  of  the 
State,  a  call  was  issued  on  the  27th  of  June  for  a  general  con- 
vention of  those  who  would  indorse  the  President,  to  meet  in 
Philadelphia  on  the  i6th  of  August.  This  call  was  indorsed  by 
the  forty-five  Democratic  members  of  Congress,  including  such 
patriots  as  Garrett  Davis  of  Kentucky,  Ross  of  Illinois,  Rogers 
of  New  Jersey,  and  Finck  and  Le  Blond  of  Ohio.  When  the 
Cabinet  officers  were  asked  to  join  in  the  movement,  Dennison, 
Harlan,  and  Speed  responded  by  denouncing  the  convention, 
and  sending  in  their  resignations. 

The  convention  assembled  in  full  force,  and  under  rules  as 
rigid  and  with  order  and  harmony  as  perfect  as  ever  obtained 
under  the  discipline  of  the  Ohio  penitentiary,  it  has  given  us 
the  results  of  its  labors  in  a  decalogue  of  **  principles  "  and  an 
address  of  four  newspaper  columns,  which  must  now  be  re- 
garded as  the  latest  version  of  the  President's  Rebel  Democratic 
policy.  To  understand  the  policy  which  the  nation  is  now  in- 
vited to  adopt,  it  will  be  necessary  to  examine  somewhat  the 
parties  that  composed  and  the  purposes  which  inspired  the  Phil- 
adelphia Convention.     Three  classes  made  up  the  assemblage. 

First,  the  unwashed,  unanointed,  unforgiven,  unrepentant,  un- 
hung Rebels  of  the  South.  They  were  represented  by  such 
politicians  as  the  Rebel  Vice-President,  lately  called  from  the 
casements  of  Fort  Warren  by  his  admiring  constituents,  to  rep- 
resent them  in  the  Senate  of  the  United  States;  by  such  gallant 
generals  as  Dick  Taylor,  who,  when  his  brigade  had  captured  in 

1  J.  R.  Doolittle  and  A.  W.  RandaH. 


battle  seven  Union  men  that  had  escaped  the  rebel  conscription 
in  Louisiana,  and  had  joined  a  Vermont  regiment  to  fight  for 
the  Union,  compelled  them  to  dig  their  own  graves,  and  then 
ordered  them  shot  in  his  presence ;  by  such  clergymen  as  the 
Rev.  Jesse  B.  Ferguson,  who,  years  ago  (possibly  in  antici- 
pation of  the  wants  of  his  brother  Champ,  lately  hanged  in 
Nashville  for  twenty  Union  murders)  proclaimed  a  post  7uoricm 
gospel,  glad  tidings  for  the  dead  and  damned, — who  gave  the 
weight  of  his  ministerial  character  to  aid  in  the  destruction  of 
the  Union,  and  now  speaks  touchingly  of  the  "  lost  cause  " ;  and 
last,  but  not  least,  by  Governor  Orr,  who  taught  the  blessed  les- 
son that,  if  South  Carolina  would  join  the  arm-in-arm  embrace 
of  Massachusetts,  she  must  first  slaughter  twenty-five  thousand 
sons  of  the  Bay  State.  This  first  class  formed  the  great,  dumb, 
heroic  element  of  the  convention. 

The  second  class  was  the  dishonored,  depraved,  defeated 
remnant  of  Northern  Democracy.  The  divine  Fernando,  the 
sainted  martyr  Vallandigham,  the  meek-eyed  Ryndcrs,  and  the 
patriotic  H.  Clay  Dean  were  there,  and  their  past  distinguished 
services  in  the  cause  of  their  country  were  equalled  only  by  the 
self-sacrificing  spirit  by  which  they  preserved  the  harmony  of 
the  convention.  The  part  played  by  the  Democracy  in  the  con- 
vention was  a  humble  one.  They  could  not  have  looked  upon 
their  brother  delegates  from  the  South  without  feelings  of  rev- 
erence and  admiration  for  the  heroism  wliich  led  them  to  do 
battle  in  the  field  to  sustain  a  cause  for  which  they  themselves 
had  dared  to  do  no  more  than  speak  and  vote  and  pray. 

Third,  last  and  least,  were  all  the  apostate  Union  men  who 
hunger  and  thirst  after  office  and  the  spoils  thereof,  —  who 
greedily  gather  up  the  crumbs  that  fall  from  the  political 
table.  This  class  was  not  the  Lazarus  of  the  convention,  for 
though  the  Democracy  did  not  hesitate  to  lick  their  sores 
and  make  them  the  chief  managers,  they  still  lacked  the  piety 
of  the  Jew.  They  are  paupers,  disinherited  by  the  party  of 
freedom,  and  are  now  begging  their  political  bread  from  door 
to  door.  There  were  men  whose  presence  in  that  convention 
was  a  painful  surprise  to  their  Union  friends;  men  of  whom 
higher  and  nobler  things  were  expected ;  men  who  had  ser\ed 
with  honor  in  the  army  of  the  Union.  Let  us  hope  that,  when 
they  see  the  company  into  which  they  have  fallen,  they  will  re- 
member the  holy  cause  for  which  they  have  fought,  and  retrace 


their  unfortunate  steps.  Such  was  the  convention  and  such  the 
men  by  whom  and  through  whom  the  President  proposes  to 
settle  the  great  questions  now  pending  before  the  nation. 

And  now  let  us  examine  its  doctrines.  The  leading  thought 
which  inspired  all  the  declarations  of  the  convention  was  uttered 
by  Alexander  H.  Stephens,  late  Vice-President  of  the  Confeder- 
acy, and  by  Thomas  Ewing,  Vice-President  of  the  Philadelphia 
Convention.  Mr.  Stephens  said,  in  his  evidence  before  a  commit- 
tee of  Congress,  given  three  months  ago :  "  Georgia  will  accept 
no  conditions  of  restoration.  She  claims  to  come  back  with  her 
privilege  of  representation  unimpaired."  While  the  Philadelphia 
Convention  was  assembling,  Mr.  Ewing  said :  **  Even  in  the  heat 
and  violence  of  the  Rebellion,  the  States  in  which  Rebel  violence 
most  prevailed  were  each  and  all  of  them,  as  States,  entitled  to 
their  representation  in  the  two  Houses  of  Congress."  This,  I 
say,  was  the  central  thought  in  the  convention,  and  even  the 
accomplished  acrobat  of  the  New  York  Times,  though  he  waded 
knee-deep  in  words  through  his  four-column  address,  was  not 
able  to  sink  it  out  of  sight.  In  their  **  declaration  of  principles" 
it  is  expressly  affirmed  that  the  war  "  left  the  rights  and  author- 
ity of  the  States  free  and  unimpaired ;  that  neither  Congress  nor 
the  President  has  any  power  to  question  their  right  to  represen- 
tation." Planting  themselves  on  this  doctrine,  they  ask  that  the 
people  elect  to  the  Fortieth  Congress  only  those  who  acknowl- 
edge the  unqualified  right  of  the  Rebel  States  to  immediate 
representation.  They  also  ask  the  President  to  use  his  vast 
official  patronage  to  secure  this  result. 

F'reighted  with  its  proceedings,  a  committee  of  this  mongrel 
convention  repaired  to  Washington,  and  in  the  east  room  of 
the  White  House  enacted  the  farce  of  delivering  them  to  the 
President.  He  indorsed  the  doctrines  of  the  convention,  and 
then  gave  utterance  to  a  sentiment  so  reckless  and  revolutionary 
as  to  create  the  profoundest  alarm  among  loyal  men.  The 
Democratic  and  Rebel  journals  have  for  months  been  denoun- 
cing Congress  as  an  illegal  body,  a  revolutionary  rump,  and  have 
demanded  their  dispersion  by  force.  Alexander  H.  Stephens 
expressed  the  opinion  that  the  acts  of  this  Congress  are  illegal, 
because  the  Rebel  States  are  not  represented.  Garrett  Davis 
expressed  the  same  opinion  in  the  Senate,  and  appealed  to  the 
President  to  disperse  it  and  recognize  the  Rebel  and  Democratic 
members  as  the  Concrress  of  the  United  States.      But  all  these 


suggestions  were  regarded  as  the  insane  ravings  of  men  blinded 
by  partisan  fury.  But  here,  in  a  speech  made  by  appointment 
to  a  committee  whose  plans  and  purposes  he  noj  only  knew, 
but  had  helped  to  form,  Andrew  Johnson  used  this  language : 
"We  have  seen  hanging  upon  the  verge  of  the  government,  as 
it  were,  a  body  called,  or  which  assumes  to  be,  the  Congress  of 
the  United  States,  while  in  fact  it  is  a  Congress  of  only  a  part 
of  the  States."  Who  is  the  "government"  upon  the  "verge" 
of  which  the  President  declares  the  Congress  of  the  United 
States  "  hangs"  as  an  unlawful  appendage?  We  had  supposed 
that  the  government  of  the  United  States  consisted  of  the  su- 
preme power  of  the  people,  vested  in  the  legislative,  judicial, 
and  executive  departments ;  but  he  speaks  of  the  Thirty-ninth 
Congress  as  a  body  "  called  "  or  "  assumed  to  be  the  Congress 
of  the  United  States."  If  these  words  have  any  meaning,  they 
mean  that  the  President  regards  your  Congress  as  an  unlawful 
assembly;  and  if  he  has  the  courage  to  act  up  to  his  convictions, 
he  will  take  the  advice  of  his  Rebel  and  Democratic  friends  and 
disperse  it  when  it  again  convenes,  as  he  and  his  Southern  allies 
dissolved  the  New  Orleans  convention  in  blood.  It  is  possible 
that  we  are  to  have  a  rebellion,  not  "  on  the  other  end  of  the 
line,"  but  in  the  centre,  —  in  the  sacred  citadel  of  the  nation. 
It  is  possible  that  he  intends  to  fulfil  his  promise  to  make 
treason  "  odious,"  by  making  himself  the  most  conspicuous  ex- 
ample of  public  treachery.  Whatever  be  the  President's  mean- 
ing, the  loyal  people  will  not  fail  to  remind  him  that  he  is  not 
the  controller  of  Congress,  but  the  executor  of  the  laws,  and 
the  same  people  who  elevated  him  to  his  high  place  will,  if 
justice  and  liberty  require  it,  let  fall  on  him  a  bolt  of  condem- 
nation which  will  settle  forever  the  question  that  Presidents  are 
the  servants,  not  the  masters,  of  the  American  people. 

And  now  let  me  examine  the  doctrine  of  the  Philadelphia 
Convention,  that  "  the  war  left  the  rights  and  authority  of  the 
Rebel  States  unimpaired."  I  meet  this  proposition  with  the 
undeniable  fact,  that,  when  the  Confederacy  fell,  the  authority 
of  the  Rebel  States  was  not  only  "  impaired,"  but  utterly  over- 
thrown. I  answer  in  the  words  of  Andrew  Johnson,  "The  Re- 
bellion deprived  North  Carolina  of  all  civil  government " ;  and 
call  attention  to  the  fact,  that  he  had  appointed  a  provisional 
government  "  to  aid  in  rebuilding  a  State  government  and  re- 
storing North  Carolina  to  her  constitutional   relations  to  the 


Union."  I  deny  the  assertion  that  representation  is  an  inalien- 
able right  I  repudiate  the  atrocious  doctrine  that  Rebels  in 
arms  are  entitled  to  a  voice  in  the  government  which  they  are 
fighting  at  the  same  time  to  destroy.  While  the  Rebel  army 
was  in  winter  quarters  recruiting  for  the  next  campaign,  Lee 
and  Johnston,  Breckinridge  and  Bragg,  Taylor  and  Forrest, 
might  have  taken  seats  in  Congress,  or  if  not  these,  then  others 
who  had  never  been  brave  enough  to  take  such  public  part  in 
the  Rebellion  as  to  prevent  their  taking  the  test  oath;  and 
then  this  might  have  added  enough  votes  to  the  Democratic 
strength  in  the  Thirty-eighth  Congress  to  control  the  action  of 
that  body,  and  assure  the  success  of  the  Rebellion. 

I  do  not  adopt  the  doctrine  that  the  Rebel  States  were  out 
of  the*  Union;  but  I  hold,  in  the  language  of  Abraham  Lincoln, 
that  "  by  the  Rebellion  they  destroyed  their  practical  relations 
to  the  Union."  They  did  not  relieve  themselves  from  their  ob- 
ligations to  the  Union,  but  by  treason  and  war  they  forfeited 
their  rights  to  life  and  property.  It  was  for  the  victorious 
government  to  say  what  mercy  should  be  extended,  what  rights 
should  be  restored. 

It  is  the  duty  of  the  Congress  of  the  United  States,  enjoined 
by  the  Constitution,  "  to  guarantee  to  every  State  in  this  Union 
a  republican  form  of  government."  For  the  correctness  of  this 
position,  I  appeal  to  the  solemn  decision  of  the  Supreme  Court 
in  the  case  of  the  Dorr  rebellion,  in  1842. 

"  Under  this  article  of  the  Constitution,  it  rests  with  Congress  to  de- 
cide what  government  is  the  established  one  in  a  State.  For  as  the 
United  States  guarantee  to  each  State  a  republican  government,  Congress 
must  necessarily  decide  what  government  is  established  in  the  State  be- 
fore it  can  determine  whether  it  is  republican  or  not.  And  when  the 
Senators  and  Representatives  of  a  State  are  admitted  into  the  councils 
of  the  Union,  the  authority  of  the  government  under  which  they  are 
appointed,  as  well  as  its  republican  character,  is  recognized  by  the  proper 
constitutional  authority.  And  its  decision  is  binding  on  every  other  de- 
partment of  the  government Unquestionably,  a  military  govern- 
ment, cstv'il)lishod  as  the  permanent  government  of  the  State,  would  not 
be  a  rei;)ublican  government,  and  it  would  be  the  duty  of  Congress  to 
overthrow  it."  ^ 

I  answer  the  doctrine  of  the  Philadelphia  Convention  by  the 
fact  that  the  President  demanded  three  preliminary  conditions 

1  7  Howard,  42,  45. 


as  indispensable  to  his  recognition  of  the  Rebel  States  to  repre- 
sentation in  Congress.     He  demanded,  — 

1st.  That  these  States  should  declare  all  their  acts  of  Seces- 
sion void  from  the  beginning. 

2d.  That  they  should  ratify  the  Constitutional  Amendment 
abolishing  slavery. 

3d.  That  they  should  repudiate  all  their  debts  contracted  to 
support  the  Rebellion. 

The  Philadelphia  Convention  says  that  representation  is  an 
inalienable  right,  which  the  war  did  not  impair.  If  this  be  true, 
the  President  is  condemned  for  imposing  conditions. 

But  it  may  be  claimed  that  the  three  conditions  have  been 

complied  with,  that  State  governments  have  been  established  in 

all  the  eleven  States,  and  that  Congress  should  have  recognized 

the  fact     I  answer  that,  with  the  single  exception  of  Tennessee, 

not  one  of  the  constitutions  of  these  States  has  been  ratified 

by  the  people  of  the  States,  or  even  submitted  to  them.     Can 

^at  be  called  a  republican  government  of  a  State  which  was 

framed  by  a  convention  of  pardoned  Rebels  under  the  dicta- 

^^on  of  a  military  governor  and  the  commander-in-chief  of  the 

^'"rnies  of  the  United  States?     But  even  if  these    governments 

^*'ore  lawful  and  republican  in  every  respect,  have  the  condi- 

^'^^ns  which  the  President  demanded  been  so  secured  as  to  be- 

c^rne  *' irreversible  guaranties"? 

It  is  said  that  the   legislatures  have   repudiated  the   Rebel 

"^VdIs.      May  they  not,  a  year  hence,  repeal  the  acts  of  repu- 

^io^tion?      It  is  said  that  the  Civil   Rights   Bill  is  now  a  law, 

^^d  will  give  the  freedmen  adequate  protection.     Who  docs  not 

^How  that  the  President  who  vetoed,  and  his  Democratic  allies 

^^'bo  voted  against  the  bill,  will  hasten  to  repeal  it  if  they  ever 

regain  the  power  in  Congress?     We  will  accept  no  securities 

^vhich  are  based  solely  on  the  promises  of  perjured  traitors.    We 

will  accept  as  the  basis  of  our  future  peace   no  mere  acts  or 

resolves   of   Rebel   convocations    or   Rebel    legislatures.      The 

guaranties  which  the    loyal    millions  of  the   republic  demand 

as  conditions  of  restoration    must  be  lifted    above  the   reach 

of  traitors   and    Rebel    States,    and    imbedded    forever   in    the 

imperishable    bulwarks   of  the    Constitution ;     therefore,    their 

loyal    representatives   in    the  Thirty-ninth   Congress   proposed 

an  amendment  to  the  Constitution,  which,   adopted  by  three 

fourths  of  the  States,  will  make  liberty  and  union  secure  for 


the  future.  They  have  proposed  that  it  shall  be  a  part  of  the 
Constitution,  — 

1st.  That  no  State  shall  deny  any  person  within  its  jurisdic- 
tion the  equal  protection  of  the  laws. 

2d.  That  the  representation  of  any  State  in  Congress  shall 
be  determined  by  the  ratio  which  the  male  inhabitants  of  sucli 
State,  being  twenty-one  years  of  age  and  citizens  of  the  United 
States,  who  are  entitled  by  the  laws  thereof  to  vote,  bears  to 
the  whole  number  of  such  citizens  in  the  State.  So  that  just  in 
proportion  as  the  right  of  suffrage  is  extended  to  the  male  citi- 
zens twenty-one  years  of  age  and  citizens  of  the  United  States, 
or  is  restricted,  shall  the  representation  be  increased  or  dimin- 

3d.  That  no  person  shall  hold  any  office,  civil  or  military, 
under  the  United  States,  or  under  any  State,  who,  having  pre- 
viously taken  an  oath  as  an  officer  of  the  United  States,  or  a 
legislative,  executive,  or  judicial  officer  of  a  State,  to  support 
the  Constitution  of  the  United  States,  shall  have  engaged  in 
insurrection  or  rebellion  against  the  same,  or  given  aid  or  com- 
fort to  the  enemies  thereof;  but  Congress  may,  by  a  vote  of 
two  thirds  of  each  House,  remove  such  disability. 

4th.  The  public  debt  of  the  United  States  shall  never  be  re- 
pudiated, and  the  Rebel  debt  shall  never  be  paid. 

5th.  Congress  shall  have  power  to  enforce  these  provisions 
by  appropriate  legislation. 

These  propositions  appeal  to  the  common  and  moral  sense 
of  the  nation,  as  every  way  worthy  to  become  a  part  of  our  fun- 
damental law.  They  are  conditions  with  which  any  State  lately 
in  rebellion  can  comply  without  humiliation  or  disgrace;  which 
no  State,  if  sincere  in  its  professions  of  returning  loyalty,  would 
hesitate  to  adopt.  These  conditions  were  cheerfully  adopted  b)* 
the  loyal  men  of  Tennessee,  though  the  President,  seconded  by 
the  Rebels  in  that  State,  made  every  possible  eftbrt  to  prevent 
it,  and  Congress  immediately  declared  that  State  entitled  to 
representation,  and  the  members  elect  were  admitted  to  their 
seats.  These  conditions  embraced  in  the  Constitutional  Amend- 
ment, and  proposed  to  the  late  Rebel  States,  form  the  Congres- 
sional policy.  Whenever  any  other  of  the  sinful  eleven  complies 
with  the  same  conditions,  it  can  come  in  as  did  Tennessee. 

And  now,  fellow-citizens,  the  two  policies  are  before  you.  It 
is  for  you  to  determine  which  shall  be  adopted  as  the  basis  of 


restoration  and  peace.  In  the  settlement  of  these  great  issues, 
you  must  vote  with  one  of  two  parties,  for  there  can  be  no  third 
party.  The  President  has  joined  the  Democratic  party,  and 
that  has  joined  with  the  Rebels  of  the  South.  The  great  Union 
party  and  its  glorious  army  kept  the  two  parties  apart  for  four 
years  and  a  half;  we  fired  bullets  to  the  front  and  ballots  to  the 
rear;  we  conquered  them  both  in  the  field  and  at  the  polls; 
but  now  that  our  army  is  withdrawn,  the  two  wings  are  reunited. 
They  joined  in  Philadelphia,  and  Andrew  Johnson  is  their  leader. 
The  great  Union  party  now  stands  face  to  face  with  the  motley 
crew.    With  which  will  you  cast  in  your  lot,  fellow-citizens? 

Remember  the  noble  history  of  the  Union  party.  No  party 
ever  had  so  proud  a  record.  The  Union  party  saved  the  repub- 
lic from  the  most  powerful  and  bloody  conspiracy  ever  formed 
since  Satan  fell  from  heaven.  It  broke  the  shackles  from  the 
limbs  of  four  million  slaves,  and  redeemed  the  fair  fame  of  the 
nation.  It  carried  its  arms  to  victory  on  a  thousand  battle- 
fields. It  scattered  every  army  that  bore  a  Rebel  banner.  It 
has  enrolled  among  its  members  the  old  Republican  party  of 
freedom;  all  the  loyal  Democrats  who  followed  pouglas,  or 
loved  their  country  more  than  their  party ;  all  the  soldiers  who 
suflfered  and  conquered.  The  tvvo  hundred  and  fifty  thousand 
heroes  who  fell  on  the  field  of  honor  were  Union  men,  and, 
could  they  rise  from  their  bloody  graves  to-day,  would  vote 
with  the  Union  party. 

The  Democratic  party  is  composed  of  all  who  conspired  to 
destroy  the  republic,  and  of  all  those  who  fought  to  make 
treason  triumphant.  It  broke  ten  thousand  oaths,  and  to  its 
perjury  added  murder,  starvation,  and  assassination.  It  de- 
clared through  its  mouthpieces  in  Ohio,  in  1861,  that  if  the 
Union  men  of  Ohio  should  ever  attempt  to  enter  a  South- 
ern State  to  suppress  the  Rebellion  by  arms,  they  must  first 
pass  over  the  dead  bodies  of  two  hundred  thousand  Ohio 
Democrats.  In  the  mid-fury  of  the  struggle  it  declared  the 
war  a  failure,  and  demanded  a  cessation  of  hostilities.  In  the 
Democratic  party  is  enrolled  every  man  who  led  a  Rebel  army 
or  voluntarily  carried  a  Rebel  musket ;  every  man  who  resisted 
the  draft,  who  called  the  Union  soldiers  **  Lincoln's  hirelings," 
"  negro  worshippers,"  or  any  other  vile  name.  Booth,  Wirz, 
Harold,  and  Payne  were  Democrats.  Every  Rebel  guerilla  and 
jay  hawker,  every  man  who  ran  to  Canada  to  avoid  the  draft, 

VOL.  L  16 


eveiy  bounty-jumper,  every  deserter,  every  cowardly  sneak  that 
ran  from  danger  and  disgraced  his  flag,  every  man  who  loves 
slavery  and  hates  liberty,  every  man  who  helped  massacre  loyal 
negroes  at  Fort  Pillow,  or  loyal  whites  at  New  Orleans,  every 
Knight  of  the  Golden  Circle,  every  incendiary  who  helped  burn 
Northern  steamboats  and  Northern  hotels,  and  every  villain,  of 
whatever  name  or  crime,  who  loves  power  more  than  justice, 
slavery  more  than  freedom,  is  a  Democrat  and  an  indorser  of 
Andrew  Johnson. 

Fellow-citizens,  I  cannot  doubt  the  issue  of  such  a  contest. 
I  have  boundless  faith  in  the  lo3ral  people,  and  I  beseech  you, 
by  all  the  proud  achievements  of  the  past  five  years,  by  the 
immortal  memories  of  the  heroic  dead,  by  the  love  you  bore  to 
the  starved  and  slaughtered  thousands  who  perished  for  their 
country  and  are  sleeping  in  unknown  graves,  by  all  the  high 
and  holy  considerations  of  loyalty,  justice,  and  truth,  to  pause 
not  in  the  work  you  have  begun  till  the  Union,  crowned  with 
victory  and  established  by  justice,  shall  enter  upon  its  high 
career  of  freedom  and  peace. 




The  scheme  of  Reconstruction  proposed  by  the  joint  committee  of  the 
two  houses  consisted  of  the  Fourteenth  Amendment,  and  two  bills,  enti- 
tled, "  A  Bill  to  provide  for  restoring  the  States  lately  in  Insurrection  to 
their  full  Political  Rights,"  and  "  A  Bill  declaring  certain  Persons  ineli- 
gible to  Office  under  the  Government  of  the  United  States."  The  first 
of  these  bills  proposed  that  whenever  the  Fourteenth  Amendment  should 
become  part  of  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States,  and  any  State  lately 
in  insurrection  should  have  ratified  the  same,  and  should  have  modified 
its  Constitution  and  laws  in  conformity  therewith,  the  Senators  and  Rep- 
resentatives from  such  State,  if  found  duly  elected  and  qualified,  might 
after  having  taken  the  required  oaths  of  office,  be  admitted  into  Congress 
as  such.  The  other  bill  requires  no  analysis.  Neither  one  of  these  bills 
was  voted  upon.  Accordingly,  the  Fourteenth  Amendment  alone  was  the 
Congressional  plan  of  reconstruction,  in  1866  ;  and,  as  Mr.  Garfield  states 
in  several  of  his  speeches,  the  State  political  campaigns  of  that  year  were 
conducted  by  the  Republicans  upon  that  platform. 

In  the  mean  time  the  Amendment  had  gone  to  the  States  for  their 
action.  When  Congress  met  in  December,  1866,  this  was  the  view  pre- 
sented :  all  of  the  Rebel  States  but  Tennessee  had  rejected  the  Amend- 
ment ;  Delaware,  Maryland,  and  Kentucky  had  likewise  rejected  it ; 
twenty-one  States  had  ratified  it,  and  three  had  taken  no  action.  The 
States  lately  in  rebellion  took  their  action,  as  Mr.  Garfield  says  more  than 
once,  under  the  lead  of  President  Johnson,  and  by  the  consent  of  the 
Democratic  party.  More  than  a  year  before,  the  States  had  been  "  re- 
constructed '*  according  to  the  ideas  of  the  President,  and  fully  organized 
and  equipped.  State  governments  were  now  in  existence  and  in  opera- 
tion in  all  those  States. 

ITie  next  step  that  the  Republicans  took  was  to  bring  forward  and 
carry  through  Congress  the  so-called  "  Military  Reconstruction  Meas- 
ures " ;  namely,  "  An  Act  to  provide  for  the  more  efficient  Government 
of  the  Rebel  States,"  March  2,  1867,  and  the  "Supplemental  Recon- 


struction  Act,"  March  23,  1867.  These  acts,  both  of  which  were  carried 
over  the  President's  veto,  swept  away  the  so-called  State  governments  in 
the  ten  States,  divided  them  up  into  military  districts,  each  under  a  gen- 
eral of  the  United  States  army,  established  a  military  government,  and 
made  the  restoration  of  the  States  conditional  upon  the  ratification  of 
the  Fourteenth  Amendment,  and  the  acceptance,  so  far  as  the  ten  States 
were  concerned,  of  negro  suffrage.  These  acts,  together  with  the  various 
supplemental  acts  passed  from  time  to  time,  contain  the  plan  upon  which 
the  reconstruction  of  the  ten  States  was  finally  effected. 

The  Reconstruction  Act  proper,  March  2,  1867,  entitled,  "An  Act  to 
provide  for  the  more  efficient  Government  of  the  Rebel  States,"  having 
declared  in  its  preamble  that  "  no  legal  State  government,  or  adequate 
protection  for  life  or  property,  now  exists  in  the  Rebel  States  of  Virginia, 
North  Carolina,  South  Carolina,  Georgia,  Mississippi,  Alabama,  Louisi- 
ana, Florida,  Texas,  and  Arkansas,"  and  that  "  it  is  necessary  that  peace 
and  good  order  should  be  enforced  in  said  States  until  loyal  and  republi- 
can State  governments  can  be  legally  established,"  went  on  to  enact : 
(i.)  "That  said  Rebel  States  shall  be  divided  into  [five]  military  dis- 
tricts and  made  subject  to  the  military  authority  of  the  United  States." 
(2.)  That  the  President  shall  "assign  to  the  command  of  each  of  said 
districts  an  officer  of  the  army  not  below  the  rank  of  brigadier-gen- 
eral," to  be  supported  by  a  sufficient  military  force.  (3.)  That  it  shall 
be  the  duty  of  said  officer  "  to  protect  all  persons  in  their  rights  of  per- 
son and  property,  to  suppress  insurrection,  disorder,  and  violence,"  etc. 
(4.)  That  all  persons  put  under  mihtary  arrest  shall  "  be  tried  without 
unnecessary  delay,  and  no  cruel  or  unusual  punishment  be  inflicted." 
(5.)  "That  when  the  people  of  any  one  of  said  Rebel  States  shall  have 
formed  a  constitution  of  government  in  conformity  with  the  Constitution 
of  the  United  States  in  all  respects,  ....  and  when  such  constitution 
shall  be  ratified,  ....  and  when  such  constitution  shall  have  been  sub- 
mitted to  Congress  for  examination  and  approval,  and  Congress  shall 
have  approved  the  same,  and  when  said  State,  by  a  vote  of  its  legislature 
elected  under  said  constitution,  shall  have  adopted  the  amendment  to 
the  Constitution  of  the  United  States  proposed  by  the  Thirty-ninth  Con- 
gress, and  known  as  Article  Fourteen,  and  when  said  article  shall  have 
become  a  part  of  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States,  said  State  shall 
be  declared  entitled  to  representation  in  Congress,  and  Senators  and 
Representatives  shall  be  admitted  therefrom  on  their  taking  the  oaths  pre- 
scribed by  law,  and  then  and  thereafter  the  preceding  sections  of  this 
act  shall  be  inoperative  in  said  State."  (6.)  "  That  until  the  people  of 
said  Rebel  States  shall  be  by  law  admitted  to  representation  in  the  Con- 
gress of  the  United  States,  any  civil  governments  which  may  exist  therein 
shall  be  deemed  provisional  only."  Such  was  the  framework  of  this  law  : 
the  provisions  concerning  the  qualifications  of  delegates  and  of  electors 


for  delegates  to  the  State  conventions  will  be  given  after  an  analysis  of  the 
act  of  March  27. 

The  Supplemental  Act  prescribed  the  minor  steps  to  be  taken  by  the 
States  in  carrying  out  the  plan,  (i.)  That  by  September  i,  1867,  the  gen- 
eral commanding  iti  any  district  shall  cause  the  qualified  voters  in  the 
States  composing  his  district  to  be  registered.  (2.)  That  in  each  State, 
after  thirty  days'  public  notice,  "an  election  shall  be  held  of  delegates  to 
a  convention  for  the  purpose  of  establishing  a  constitution  and  civil  gov- 
ernment for  such  State  loyal  to  the  Union."  (3.)  That  the  question  of 
holding  a  convention,  as  well  as  the  election  of  delegates,  shall  be  submit- 
ted to  the  registered  voters,  and  that  a  majority  of  those  voting 'shall  de- 
cide whether  a  convention  shall  be  called  or  not,  "  Provided^  that  such 
convention  shall  not  be  held  unless  a  majority  of  all  such  registered  voters 
shall  have  voted  on  the  question  of  holding  such  convention."  (4.)  That 
if  the  vote  be  in  the  affirmative,  the  commanding  general  shall  call  the 
delegates  together  in  convention  within  sixty  days  after  the  election,  and 
said  convention  shall  proceed  to  frame  a  constitution  in  harmony  with 
the  Reconstruction  Acts,  which  constitution  shall  be  submitted  to  the 
registered  voters  aforesaid  for  ratification.  (5.)  That  if  the  constitution 
shall  be  ratified  by  a  majority  of  those  voting,  "  at  least  one  half  of  all 
the  registered  voters  voting  upon  the  question  of  such  ratification,"  said 
constitution  shall  be  forwarded  to  the  President  of  the  United  States,  to 
be  by  him  laid  before  Congress.  (6.)  That  elections  to  carry  out  the 
act  of  March  2,  1867,  shall  be  by  ballot. 

These  were  the  cardinal  features  of  the  Supplemental  Act.  The  other 
features  need  not  be  mentioned,  further  than  to  say  that  the  whole  ma- 
chinery of  conducting  the  elections  —  boards  of  registry,  judges  of  elec- 
tions, canvassing,  and  returns  —  was  in  the  sole  control  of  the  general 
commanding.  There  was  considerable  further  supplementary  legislation 
on  these  subjects,  partly  to  make  plain  what  was  obscure,  partly  to  meet 
new  situations.  For  instance,  it  having  been  found  difficult  in  some 
cases  to  obtain  the  vote  required  on  the  question  of  calling  a  convention, 
it  was  provided,  March  11,  1868,  that  this  question  should  "be  decided 
by  a  majority  of  the  votes  actually  cast." 

Such  was  the  general  reconstruction  scheme  as  laid  down  in  the  Re- 
construction Acts.  It  is  necessary  now  to  go  back  and  inquire  how  these 
acts  constituted  the  State  conventions. 

First,  the  Fourteenth  Amendment,  together  with  the  act  of  March  2, 
fixed  the  qualifications  of  delegates  to  the  constitutional  convention. 
Section  3  of  the  amendment  provided :  "  No  person  shaU  be  a  Senator 
or  Representative  in  Congress,  or  Elector  of  President  and  Vice-President, 
or  hold  any  office,  civil  or  militar\',  under  the  United  States,  or  under  any 
State,  who,  having  previously  taken  an  oath  as  a  member  of  Congress,  or 
as  an  officer  of  the  United  States,  or  as  a  member  of  any  State  legislature. 


or  as  an  executive  or  judicial  officer  of  any  State^  to  support  the  Consti- 
tution of  the  United  States,  shall  have  engaged  in  insurrection  or  rebellion 
against  the  same,  or  given  aid  or  comfort  to  the  enemies  thereof.  But 
Congress  may,  by  a  vote  of  two  thirds  of  each  House,  remove  such  disa- 
bility." And  the  act  provided,  "  That  no  person  excluded  from  the  privi- 
lege of  holding  office  by  said  proposed  amendment  to  the  Constitution  of 
the  United  States  shall  be  eligible  to  election  as  a  member  of  the  conven- 
tion to  frame  a  constitution  for  any  of  said  Rebel  States,  nor  shall  any 
such  person  vote  for  members  of  such  convention." 

Second,  the  act  of  March  2,  1867,  fixed  the  qualifications  of  electors 
for  delegates  to  the  conventions.  The  constitution  in  any  State  was  to 
be  ''  framed  by  a  convention  of  delegates  elected  by  the  male  citizens  of 
said  State  twenty-one  years  old  and  upward,  of  whatever  race,  color,  or 
previous  condition,  who  have  been  resident  in  said  State  for  one  year 
previous  to  the  day  of  such  election,  except  such  as  may  be  disfranchised 
for  participation  in  the  Rebellion,  or  for  felony  at  common  law."  Fur- 
ther, the  classes  described  in  the  third  section  of  the  Fourteenth  Amend- 
ment were  disfranchised  so  far  as  these  elections  for  delegates  were 
concerned :  '*  Nor  shall  any  such  person  vote  for  members  of  such  con- 
vention." They  could  be  neither  delegates  nor  electors  of  delegates. 
Still  further,  the  commanding  general  in  each  district  was  required  by 
the  Supplemental  Act  of  March  27,  1867,  to  ''  cause  a  registration  to  be 
made  of  the  male  citizens  of  the  United  States,  twenty-one  years  of  age 
and  upwards,  resident  in  each  county  or  parish  of  the  State  or  States  in- 
cluded in  his  district,  which  registration  should  include  only  those  persons 
who  are  qualified  to  vote  for  delegates  "  by  the  act  of  March  2,  "  and 
who  shall  have  taken  and  subscribed  the  following  oath  or  affirmation : 

'  I,  ,  do  solemnly  swear  (or  affirm),  in  the  presence  of  Almighty 

God,  that  I  am  a  citizen  of  the  State  of ;   that  I  have  resided  in 

said  State  for months  next  preceding  this  day,  and  now  reside  in  the 

county  of ,  or  the  parish  of ,  in  said  State  (as  the  case  may  be) ; 

that  I  am  twenty-one  years  old ;  that  I  have  not  been  disfranchised  for 
participation  in  any  rebellion  or  civil  war  against  the  United  States,  nor  for 
felony  committed  against  the  laws  of  any  State  or  of  the  United  States ;  that 
I  have  never  been  a  member  of  any  State  legislature,  nor  held  any  exec- 
utive or  judicial  office  in  any  State  and  afterwards  engaged  in  insurrec- 
tion or  rebellion  against  the  United  States,  or  given  aid  or  comfort  to  the 
enemies  thereof;  that  I  have  never  taken  an  oath  as  a  member  of  Con- 
gress of  the  United  States,  or  as  an  officer  of  the  United  States,  or  as  a 
member  of  any  State  legislature,  or  as  an  executive  or  judicial  officer  of 
any  State,  to  support  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States,  and  after- 
wards engaged  in  insurrection  or  rebellion  against  the  United  States,  or 
given  aid  or  comfort  to  the  enemies  thereof;  that  I  will  faithfully  support 
the  Constitution  and  obey  the  laws  of  the  United  States,  and  will,  to  the 


best  of  my  ability,  encourage  others  so  to  do,  so  help  me  God.*  "  Again, 
according  to  the  Supplemental  Act,  Section  4,  only  qualified  electors  for 
convention  delegates  could  vote  on  the  question  of  ratification,  when  the 
constitution  was  submitted  to  the  people.  "  Said  constitution  shall  be 
submitted  by  the  convention  for  ratification  to  the  persons  registered 
under  the  provisions  of  this  act,  at  an  election  to  be  conducted  by  the 
officers  or  persons  appointed  or  to  be  appointed  by  the  commanding 
general,  or  hereinbefore  provided,"  etc. 

Third,  the  care  of  Congress  did  not  stop  even  here.  The  act  of  March  2 
expressly  stipulated  that  the  constitution  framed  in  any  State  "  shall  pro- 
vide that  the  elective  franchise  shall  be  enjoyed  by  all  such  persons  as 
have  the  qualifications  herein  stated  for  electors  of  delegates."  (Sec.  5.) 
The  basis  of  suffrage  could  be  widened  but  not  narrowed.  More  persons 
could  be  allowed  to  vote,  but  those  now  allowed  could  not  be  denied. 
The  disfranchising  features  of  the  Reconstruction  Acts  need  not  be  con- 
tinued, but  the  grant  of  the  ballot  to  non-disfiranchised  male  citizens 
"  twenty-one  years  old  and  upwards,  of  whatever  race,  color,  or  previous 
condition,"  could  not  be  withdrawn.  No  one  can  mistake  the  meaning 
of  this  clause :  Congress  had  now  granted  the  elective  franchise  to  the 
negro,  and  was  determined  that  neither  State  convention  nor  State  legis- 
lature should  work  an  exclusion.  Until  a  State  should  grant  the  ballot  to 
the  freedmen,  it  would  not  be  admitted  to  representation  in  Congress,  and 
would  not  be  held  reconstructed.  But  beyond  all  this,  the  acts  to  admit 
the  States  to  representation  in  Congress  (see  June  22  and  June  25,  1868) 
imposed  upon  them  "  the  fundamental  condition,"  that  the  constitution 
of  no  one  of  them  "  should  ever  be  so  changed  as  to  undo  what  had  been 
done  in  harmony  with  the  above-recited  provisions  in  respect  to  making 
the  suffrage  independent  of  race,  color,  or  previous  condition."  Beyond 
this,  it  was  impossible  that  national  legislation  should  go.  In  the  Rebel 
States,  therefore,  there  was  no  need  of  the  Fifteenth  Amendment,  so  far  as 
gaining  the  suffrage  of  the  black  man  was  concerned.  Nor  was  there  any 
need,  for  this  purpose,  of  the  second  section  of  the  Fourteenth  Amend- 
ment, which  looked  to  gaining  the  suffrage  by  indirection.  Hence,  from 
this  point  of  view,  the  Fifteenth  Amendment  was  superior  to  the  Four- 
teenth and  to  the  Reconstruction  Acts  in  these  particulars.  The  first 
put  in  the  Constitution  what  the  last  put  only  in  a  simple  statute ;  the 
first  applied  to  all  the  States,  the  last  only  to  those  named  jn  the  pream- 
ble of  the  Reconstruction  Act ;  the  first  did  openly  and  directly  what  the 
last  did  in  a  roundabout  manner.  Except  this  guaranty  to  the  colored 
man,  the  State  conventions  and  legislatures  were  to  manage  the  suffrage  in 
their  own  way.  Here  it  should  be  added  that  Congress  paid  no  atten- 
tion to  President  Johnson,  who  all  the  time  was  issuing  proclamations  of 
amnesty,  and  granting  pardons  in  harmony  with  his  proclamation  of  May 
29,  1865.   It  should  also  be  observed,  that  the  disabilities  imposed  by  the 


Fourteenth  Amendment  could  be  removed  only  by  the  national  legisla- 
ture. "  But  Congress  may,  by  a  vote  of  two  thirds  of  each  house,  remove 
such  disability." 

At  various  stages  of  the  reconstruction  legislation,  Mr.  Garfield  made 
the  remarks  that  are  here  brought  together.  On  the  8th  of  February, 
1867,  he  spoke  as  follows :  — 

MR.  SPEAKER,  —  In  the  short  time  allowed  me  I  can  say 
very  little.  But  I  desire  to  call  the  attention  of  the 
House  to  two  or  three  points  which,  in  my  judgment,  stand  out 
prominently,  and  which  should  control  our  action  upon  this 

And,  first,  I  call  attention  to  the  fact  that,  from  the  collapse 
of  the  Rebellion  to  the  present  hour,  the  Congress  of  the  United 
States  has  undertaken  to  restore  the  States  lately  in  rebellion 
by  co-operation  with  their  people,  and  that  our  efforts  in  that 
direction  have  proved  a  complete  and  disastrous  failure.  We 
commenced,  sir,  by  waiving  nine  tenths  of  all  the  powers  we  had 
over  these  people,  and  adopting  a  policy  most  merciful  and 
magnanimous.  It  was  clearly  the  right  of  the  victorious  gov- 
ernment to  indict,  try,  convict,  and  hang  every  rebel  traitor  in 
the  South  for  his  bloody  conspiracy  against  the  republic.  In 
accordance  with  a  law  passed  by  the  first  Congress  that  met 
under  the  Constitution,  and  approved  by  Washington,  wc  might 
have  punished  with  death  by  hanging  every  Rebel  of  the  South. 
We  might  have  confiscated  the  last  dollar  of  the  last  Rebel  to 
aid  in  paying  the  cost  of  the  war.  Or,  adopting  a  more  merci- 
ful policy,  we  might  have  declared  that  no  man  who  voluntarily 
went  into  the  Rebellion  should  ever  again  enjoy  the  rights  of  a 
citizen  of  the  United  States.  They  forfeited  every  right  of  citi- 
zenship by  becoming  traitors  and  public  enemies.  What  the 
conquering  sovereign  would  do  with  them  was  for  Congress  to 

Now,  with  all  these  powers  in  its  hands.  Congress  resolved  to 
do  nothing  for  vengeance,  but  everything  for  liberty  and  safety. 
The  representatives  of  the  nation  said  to  the  people  of  the 
South,  "  Join  with  us  in  giving  liberty  and  justice  to  that  race 
which  you  have  so  long  outraged,  make  it  safe  for  free  loyal 
men  to  live  among  you,  bow  to  the  authority  of  our  common 
country,  and  we  will  forgive  the  carnage,  the  desolation,  the 
losses,  and  the  unutterable  woes  you  have  brought  upon  the 


nation,  and  you  shall  come  back  to  your  places  in  the  Union 
with  no  other  personal  disability  than  this, — that  your  leaders 
shall  not  again  rule  us  except  by  the  consent  of  two  thirds  of 
both  houses  of  Congress."  That  was  the  proposition  which  this 
Congress  submitted  at  its  last  session ;  and  I  am  here  to  affirm 
to-day  that  so  magnanimous,  so  merciful  a  proposition  has  never 
been  submitted  by  a  sovereignty  to  rebels  since  the  day  when 
God  offered  forgiveness  to  the  fallen  sons  of  men. 

The  Fourteenth  Amendment  did  not  come  up  to  the  full 
height  of  the  great  occasion ;  it  did  not  meet  all  that  I  desired 
in  the  way  of  guaranties  to  liberty;  but  if  all  the  Rebel  States 
had  adopted  it  as  Tennessee  did,  I  should  have  felt  bound  to  let 
them  in  on  the  terms  prescribed  for  Tennessee.  I  have  also 
been  in  favor  of  waiting,  to  give  them  full  time  to  deliberate  and 
act.  They  have  deliberated ;  they  have  acted ;  the  last  one  of 
the  sinful  ten  has  at  last,  with  contempt  and  scorn,  flung  back 
into  our  teeth  the  magnanimous  offer  of  a  generous  nation ; 
and  it  is  now  our  turn  to  act.  They  would  not  co-operate 
with  us  in  rebuilding  what  they  destroyed;  we  must  remove 
the  rubbish  and  rebuild  from  the  bottom.  Whether  they  are 
willing  or  not,  we  must  compel  obedience  to  the  Union,  and 
demand  protection  for  its  humblest  citizen  wherever  the  flag 
floats.  We  must  so  exert  the  power  of  the  nation  that  it  shall 
be  deemed  both  safe  and  honorable  to  have  been  loyal  in  the 
midst  of  treason.  We  must  see  to  it  that  the  frightful  carnival 
of  blood  now  raging  in  the  South  shall  continue  no  longer.  We 
must  make  it  possible  for  the  humblest  citizen  of  the  United 
States  —  from  whatever  State  he  may  come  —  to  travel  in  safety 
from  the  Ohio  River  to  the  Gulf.  In  short,  we  must  plant  lib- 
erty on  the  ruins  of  slavery,  and  establish  law  and  peace  where 
anarchy  and  violence  now  reign.  I  believe,  sir,  the  time  has 
come  when  we  must  lay  the  heavy  hand  of  military  author- 
ity upon  these  Rebel  communities,  and  hold  them  in  its  grasp 
till  their  madness  is  past,  and  until,  clothed  and  in  their  right 
minds,  they  come  bowing  to  the  authority  of  the  Union,  and 
taking  their  places  loyally  in  the  family  circle  of  the  States. 

Now,  Mr.  Speaker,  I  am  aware  that  this  is  a  severe  and  strin- 
gent measure.  I  do  not  hesitate  to  say  that  I  give  my  assent 
to  its  main  features  with  many  misgivings.  I  am  not  unmind- 
ful of  the  grave  suggestions  of  the  gentleman  from  New  York,^ 

1  Mr.  Raymond. 


in  reference  to  the  history  of  such  legislation  in  other  coun- 
tries and  other  ages ;  I  remember,  too,  that  upon  the  walls  of 
imperial  Rome  a  Praetorian  guard  announced  that  the  world  was 
for  sale,  and  that  the  legions  knocked  down  the  imperial  purple 
to  the  highest  bidder ;  but  I  beg  to  remind  the  gentleman  that 
this  is  not  a  proposition  to  commit  the  liberties  of  the  republic 
into  the  hands  of  the  military ;  it  is  a  new  article  of  war,  com- 
manding the  army  to  return  to  its  work  of  putting  down  the 
Rebellion,  by  maintaining  the  honor  and  keeping  the  peace 
of  the  nation.  If  the  officers  of  our  army  should  need  such  a 
suggestion,  let  them  remember  that  no  people  on  earth  have 
shown  themselves  so  able  to  pull  down  their  idols  as  the  Amer- 
ican people.  However  much  honored  and  beloved  a  man  may 
be,  if  the  day  ever  comes  when  he  shows  himself  untrue  to  lib- 
erty, they  will  pluck  him  out  of  their  very  hearts,  and  trample 
him  indignantly  under  their  feet.  We  have  seen  this  in  the  mil- 
itary history  of  the  last  five  years,  and  in  the  political  history  of 
the  last  campaign. 

Now,  we  propose  for  a  short 'time  to  assign  our  army  to  this 
duty  for  specific  and  beneficent  purposes ;  namely,  to  keep  the 
peace  until  we  can  exercise  the  high  functions  enjoined  upon  us 
in  the  Constitution,  of  giving  to  these  States  republican  gov- 
ernments based  upon  the  will  of  the  whole  loyal  people.  The 
generals  of  our  army  enjoy  in  a  wonderful  degree  the  confi- 
dence of  the  nation ;  but  if,  for  any  cause,  the  most  honored 
among  them  should  lay  his  hands  unlawfully  upon  the  liberty 
of  the  humblest  citizen,  he  would  be  trampled  under  the  feet  of 
millions  of  indignant  freemen.  We  are  not,  as  some  gentlemen 
seem  to  suppose,  stretching  out  helpless  hands  to  the  army  for 
aid ;  we  are  commanding  them,  as  public  servants,  to  do  this 
work  in  the  interest  of  liberty. 

I  have  spoken  only  of  the  general  purpose  of  this  bill.  I 
now  desire  to  say  that  I  am  not  satisfied  with  the  manner  in 
which  it  is  proposed  to  pass  it  through  this  House.  I  demand 
that  it  be  opened  for  amendment,  as  well  as  for  discussion.  I 
will  not  consent  that  any  one  man  or  committee  in  this  House 
shall  frame  a  bill  of  this  importance,  and  compel  me  to  vote  for 
or  against  it,  without  an  opportunity  to  suggest  amendments  to 
its  provisions.  However  unimportant  my  own  opinions  may 
be,  other  men  shall  not  do  my  thinking  for  me.  There  are 
some  words  which   I  want  stricken  out  of  this  bill,  and  some 


limitations  I  want  added.  I  at  least  shall  ask  that  they  be  con- 
sidered. I  trust  the  gentleman  who  has  the  bill  in  charge  will 
allow  a  full  opportunity  for  amendment,  and  that  the  bill,  prop- 
erly guarded,  may  become  a  law. 

On  the  12th  of  February,  Mr.  Garfield  spoke  as  follows,  in  reply  to 
Mr.  Harding,  of  Kentucky  :  — 

Mr.  Speaker,  —  I  would  not  ask  the  further  attention  of  the 
House  upon  this  subject,  were  it  not  that  I  find  myself  very  se- 
riously misrepresented,  here  and  elsewhere,  in  reference  to  my 
remarks  on  Friday  last.  I  would  not  have  the  worst  Rebel  in 
the  world  suppose  me  capable  of  anything  like  malignity  to- 
ward even  him.  I  therefore  take  this  occasion  to  contradict  the 
representation  made  by  the  gentleman  from  Kentucky,  (as  I  am 
informed,  for  I  did  not  hear  him  myself,)  that  I  had  declared 
that,  though  I  had  hitherto  been  in  favor  of  magnanimity  to- 
ward the  people  of  the  South,  I  was  now  in  favor  of  enforcing 
a  bloodthirsty  policy  against  them.  I  have  never  uttered  such 
a  sentiment.  All  that  I  did  say  was  said  directly  and  explicitly 
upon  the  single  question  of  the  Fourteenth  Amendment  as  a 
basis  of  restoration.  I  did  say  the  other  day,  and  I  say  now, 
that  if  the  amendment  proposed  at  the  last  session  of  Con- 
gress had  been  ratified  by  all  the  States  lately  in  rebellion,  in 
the  same  way  that  Tennessee  ratified  it,  and  if  those  States 
had  done  all  the  other  things  that  Tennessee  did,  I  should 
have  felt  myself  morally  bound,  (though  it  fell  very  far  short 
of  full  justice  and  of  my  own  views  of  good  statesmanship,) 
and  I  believed  the  Thirty-ninth  Congress  would  have  been  mor- 
ally bound,  to  admit  every  one  of  the  Rebel  States  on  the  same 

Many  members  know  that  I  have  been  opposed  to  taking  fur- 
ther decisive  action  until  every  Rebel  State  had  had  full  oppor- 
tunity to  act  upon  the  Amendment.  Now  that  they  have  all 
rejected  it,  I  consider  their  action  as  final,  and  say,  as  I  said 
on  Friday  last,  that  that  offer,  as  a  basis  of  reconstruction,  is 
forever  closed  so  far  as  my  vote  is  concerned.  The  time  has 
come  when  we  must  protect  the  loyal  men  of  the  South ;  the 
time  has  come  when   fruitless   magnanimity  to  rebels  is  cruelty 


to  our  friends.  No  other  victorious  nation  has  ever  so  neglected 
its  supporters.  For  a  quarter  of  a  century  the  British  govern- 
ment gave  special  protection  to  the  Tories  of  the  American 
Revolution,  paying  them  fifteen  million  dollars  out  of  the  royal 
treasury.  What  loyal  man  of  any  Rebel  State,  except  Tennes- 
see, has  been  honored  or  defended  by  the  Federal  government  ? 
It  is  a  notorious  fact,  that  it  is  both  honorable  and  safe  in  the 
South  to  have  been  a  Rebel,  while  it  is  both  dangerous  and  dis- 
graceful for  a  Southerner  to  have  been  loyal  to  the  Union. 
Loyal  men  are  every  day  perishing  as  unavenged  victims  of 
Rebel  malignity.  I  desire  to  say,  also,  that  I  am  in  favor  of 
placing  these  States  under  military  jurisdiction  only  as  a  tem- 
porary measure  of  protection,  until  republican  governments  can 
be  organized,  based  upon  the  will  of  all  the  loyal  people,  with- 
out regard  to  race  or  color. 

Now,  Mr.  Speaker,  as  the  gentleman  from  Kentucky  volun- 
teered to  read  me  a  lecture  on  bloodthirstiness,  and  reminded 
me  of  the  sinfulness  of  human  nature  as  represented  in  myself, 
I  will  volunteer  a  few  suggestions  and  reflections  to  him  and  the 
party  with  which  he  acts.  I  remind  the  gentleman  that  his 
party  and  the  President  who  leads  it  have  had  it  in  their  power 
any  day  during  the  last  twenty-two  months  to  close  the  bleed- 
ing wounds  of  this  grievous  war,  and  restore  the  States  lately  in 
rebellion  to  their  proper  places  in  the  Union.  I  tell  that  gen- 
tleman that  if,  on  any  one  day  during  the  war,  he  and  his  party 
had  risen  up  and  said,  honestly  and  unanimously,  "We  join  the 
loyal  men  of  the  nation  to  put  down  the  Rebellion,"  the  war 
would  not  have  lasted  a  twelvemonth.  The  army  never  feared 
the  enemy  in  its  front;  it  was  the  enemy  in  the  rear,  with  their 
ballots  and  plots  aj^ainst  the  Union  and  their  sympathy  with  the 
Rebellion,  which  continued  the  war  and  wasted  and  desolated 
the  land  with  blood  and  fire.  That  party  is  responsible  for 
more  of  the  carnage  of  the  war  than  anybody  else  this  side  of 
the  Rebels. 

But,  sir,  the  gentleman  and  his  party  have  made  a  record 
since  the  war  ended.  If  the  Democratic  party,  with  the  Pres- 
ident at  its  head,  had,  on  any  day  since  July  last,  advised  the 
people  of  the  South  to  accept  the  Fourteenth  Amendment  and 
come  in  as  Tennessee  did,  it  would  have  been  done.  I  have 
information  from  a  source  entirely  reliable,  that  but  little  more 
than  one  month  ago  Alabama  was  on  the  eve  of  accepting  that 


Amendment  when  a  telegram  from  Washington  dissuaded  her 
from  doing  so  and  led  her  rashly  to  reject  it.  Of  all  men  on 
earth  the  gentleman  and  his  party  have  the  least  right  to  preach 
the  doctrine  of  mercy  to  this  side  of  the  House.  That  mercy 
which  smiles  only  on  murder,  treason,  and  rebellion,  and  has 
only  frowns  for  loyalty  and  patriotism,  becomes  the  gentleman 
and  his  party. 

I  cannot  agree  with  all  that  has  just  been  said  by  my  friends 
on  this  side,  that  our  own  party  in  Congress  have  been  so  very 
virtuous  and  true  to  liberty.  I  cannot  forget  that  we  have 
learned  very  slowly ;  I  cannot  forget  that  less  than  four  years 
ago  the  proposition  to  allow  negroes  any  share  in  putting  down 
the  Rebellion  was  received  with  alarm  in  this  hall  and  even  on 
this  side  of  the  House.  I  cannot  forget  that  less  than  five  years 
ago  I  received  an  order  from  my  superior  officer  in  the  army 
commanding  me  to  search  my  camp  for  a  fugitive  slave,  and  if 
found  to  deliver  him  up  to  a  Kentucky  captain,  who  claimed 
him  as  his  property ;  and  I  had  the  honor  to  be  perhaps  the 
first  officer  in  the  army  who  peremptorily  refused  to  obey  such 
an  order.  We  were  then  trying  to  save  the  Union  without 
hurting  slavery.  I  remember,  sir,  that  when  we  undertook  to 
agitate  in  the  army  the  question  of  putting  arms  into  the  hands 
of  the  slaves,  it  was  said,  "  Such  a  step  will  be  fatal,  it  will 
alienate  half  our  army  and  lose  us  Kentucky."  By  and  by,  when 
our  necessities  were  imperious,  we  ventured  to  let  the  negro  dig 
in  the  trenches,  but  it  would  not  do  to  put  muskets  into  his 
hands.  We  ventured  to  let  the  negro  drive  a  mule  team,  but  it 
would  not  do  to  have  a  white  man  or  a  mulatto  just  in  front  of 
him  or  behind  him ;  all  must  be  negroes  in  that  train ;  you  must 
not  disgrace  a  white  soldier  by  putting  him  in  such  company. 
By  and  by  some  one  said,  "  Rebel  guerillas  may  capture  the 
mules ;  so  for  the  sake  of  the  mules  let  us  put  a  few  muskets  in 
the  wagons  and  let  the  negroes  shoot  the  guerillas  if  they  come." 
So  for  the  sake  of  the  mules  wc  enlarged  the  limits  of  liberty  a 
little.  By  and  by  we  allowed  the  negroes  to  build  fortifications 
and  armed  them  to  save  the  earthworks  they  had  made,  —  not 
to  do  justice  to  the  negro,  but  to  protect  the  earth  he  had 
thrown  up.  By  and  by  wc  said  in  this  hall  that  we  would  arm 
the  negroes,  but  they  must  not  be  called  soldiers  nor  wear  the 
national  uniform,  for  that  would  degrade  white  soldiers.  By 
and  by  we  said,  "  Let  them  wear  the  uniform,  but  they  must 


not  receive  the  pay  of  soldiers."  For  six  months  we  did  not 
pay  them  enough  to  feed  and  clothe  them ;  and  their  shattered 
regiments  came  home  from  South  CaroHna  in  debt  to  the  gov- 
ernment for  the  clothes  they  wore.  It  took  us  two  years  to 
reach  a  point  where  we  were  willing  to  do  the  most  meagre  jus- 
tice to  the  black  man,  and  to  recognize  the  truth  that  — 

"  A  man's  a  man  for  a*  that.** 

It  will  not  do  for  our  friends  on  this  side  to  boast  even  of  the 
early  virtues  of  the  Thirty-ninth  Congress.  I  remember  very 
well,  Mr.  Speaker,  during  the  last  session,  that  forty  of  us  tried 
to  bring  the  issue  of  manhood  suffrage  before  Congress.  Our 
friends  said,  "  You  are  impracticable ;  you  will  be  beaten  at  the 
polls  if  you  go  before  the  people  on  that  issue ;  make  haste 
slowly."  Let  us  not  be  too  proud  of  what  we  did  at  the  last 
session.  For  my  part,  I  am  heartily  ashamed  of  our  short- 
comings and  the  small  measure  of  justice  we  meted  out  to  our 
best  friends  in  the  South. 

But,  sir,  the  hand  of  God  has  been  visible  in  this  work,  lead- 
ing us  by  degrees  out  of  the  blindness  of  our  prejudices  to  see 
that  the  fortunes  of  the  Republic  and  the  safety  of  the  party  of 
liberty  are  inseparably  bound  up  with  the  rights  of  the  black 
man.  At  last  our  party  must  see  that,  if  it  would  preserve  its 
political  life,  or  maintain  the  safety  of  the  Republic,  we  must 
do  justice  to  the  humblest  man  in  the  nation,  whether  black  or 
white.  I  thank  God  that  to-day  we  have  struck  the  rock ;  we 
have  planted  our  feet  upon  solid  earth.  Streams  of  light  will 
gleam  out  from  the  luminous  truth  embodied  in  the  legislation 
of  this  day.  This  is  the  ne  plus  ultra  of  reconstruction,  and  I 
hope  we  shall  have  the  courage  to  go  before  our  people  every- 
where with  **  This  or  nothing  "  for  our  motto. 

Now,  sir,  as  a  temporary  measure,  I  give  my  support  to  this 
military  bill,  properly  restricted.  It  is  severe.  It  was  written 
with  a  steel  pen  made  out  of  a  bayonet ;  and  bayonets  have 
done  us  good  service  hitherto.  All  I  ask  is,  that  Congress  shall 
place  civil  governments  before  these  people  of  the  Rebel  States, 
and  a  cordon  of  bayonets  behind  them. 


On  the  i8th  of  February,  the  House  having  under  consideration  the 
Military  Reconstruction  Bill,  with  the  Senate  amendments,  providing  for 
establishing  civil  governments  in  the  Rebel  States  based  upon  manhood 
suf&age,  Mr.  Garfield  spoke  as  follows :  — 

Mr.  Speaker,  —  The  House  will  remember  that  I  did  what  I 
could  when  this  bill  was  first  before  us  to  secure  an  amendment 
which  would  open  the  way  for  restoring  the  Rebel  States  to 
their  practical  relations  to  the  Union,  whenever  they  should  es- 
tablish Republican  governments  based  on  manhood  suflfragc. 
By  the  votes  of  Democratic  members,  the  Blaine  Amendment 
failed  here,  but,  by  an  almost  unanimous  vote,  the  Senate  have 
added  some  well-considered  sections,  which  effect  the  same  ob- 
ject and  make  the  bill  more  perfect  than  any  yet  proposed.  It 
is  not  all  I  could  wish,  but  as  we  are  now  within  a  few  hours  of 
the  time  when  all  the  legislation  of  the  Thirty-ninth  Congress 
will  be  wholly  in  the  power  of  the  President,  we  are  compelled 
to  accept  this  or  run  the  risk  of  getting  nothing.  Now  what 
does  this  bill  propose?  It  lays  the  hands  of  the  nation  upon 
the  Rebel  State  governments,  and  takes  the  breath  of  life  out  of 
them.  It  puts  the  bayonet  at  the  breast  of  every  Rebel  mur- 
derer in  the  South  to  bring  him  to  justice.  It  commands  the 
army  to  protect  the  life  and  property  of  citizens,  whether  black 
or  white.  It  places  in  the  hands  of  Congress  absolutely  and 
irrevocably  the  whole  work  of  reconstruction. 

With  this  thunderbolt  in  our  hands  shall  we  stagger  like  idiots 
under  its  weight?  Have  we  grasped  a  weapon  which  we  have 
neither  the  courage  nor  the  wisdom  to  wield?  If  I  were  afraid 
of  this  Congress  and  the  next,  —  afraid  of  my  shadow,  afraid  of 
myself,  —  I  would  declaim  against  this  bill  as  gentlemen  around 
me  have  done.  They  have  spoken  vehemently,  solemnly,  se- 
pulchrally,  against  it,  but  they  have  not  done  us  the  favor  to 
quote  a  line  from  the  bill  itself  to  prove  that  it  has  any  of  the 
defects  they  charge.  They  tell  us  it  proposes  universal  amnesty 
to  Rebels,  but  I  challenge  them  to  find  the  shadow  of  that 
thought  in  the  bill.  They  tell  us  it  puts  the  State  governments 
into  the  hands  of  Rebels.  I  deny  it  unless  I  am  a  Rebel  and 
this  is  a  Rebel  Congress.  They  tell  us  it  is  a  surrender  to  the 
President,  because  it  directs  him  to  detail  officers  to  command 
the  military  districts.  Mr.  Speaker,  I  want  this  Congress  to  give 
its  commands  to  the  President.  If  he  refuses  to  obey,  the  im- 
peachment-hunters need  make  no  further  search  for  cause  of 


action.  There  may  be  abundant  cause  now,  but  disobedience 
to  thb  order  will  place  it  beyond  all  question,  —  our  duty  to  im- 
peach him  will  be  plain  and  imperative. 

Mr.  Speaker,  there  are  some  gentiemen  here  who  live  in  a 
world  far  above  my  poor  comprehension.  They  dwell  with 
eagles,  —  on  mountain  peaks,  —  in  the  region  of  perpetual  frost ; 
and  in  that  ethereal  air,  with  purged  vision,  they  discern  the  lin- 
eaments in  the  face  of  freedom  so  much  more  clearly  than  I  do, 
that  sometimes  when  I  and  other  common  mortals  here  have 
almost  within  our  reach  a  measure  which  we  think  a  great  gain 
to  liberty,  they  come  down  and  tell  us  our  measure  is  low  and 
mean,  —  a  compromise  with  the  enemy  and  a  surrender  of  lib- 
erty. I  remember  an  example  of  this  at  the  close  of  the  last 
session.  Many  of  us  had  tried  in  vain  to  put  manhood  suffrage 
into  the  Fourteenth  Amendment;  but  all  knew  that  the  safety 
Qf  the  nation  and  the  life  of  the  Union  party  were  bound  up 
in  the  passage  of  that  Amendment  in  the  shape  it  finally  as- 
sumed. At  the  last  moment,  when  it  was  known  that  the 
Union  party  in  this  body  had  determined  to  pass  it,  the  pre- 
vious question  was  withheld  to  allow  these  exalted  thinkers  to 
denounce  it  as  an  unworthy,  unstatesmanlike  surrender.  But 
the  House  passed  it,  the  Senate  concurred,  and  the  people  ap- 
proved it  by  the  most  overwhelming  majorities  known  in  our 
political  history. 

The  pending  measure,  Mr.  Speaker,  goes  far  beyond  the 
Fourteenth  Amendment,  and  in  addition  to  other  beneficent 
provisions  it  recognizes  and  secures  forever  the  full  political 
rights  of  all  loyal  men  in  the  Rebel  States,  without  distinction 
of  race  or  color.  If  any  gentleman  can  show  me  a  greater 
gain  to  liberty  in  the  last  half-century,  he  will  open  a  chapter 
of  history  which  it  has  not  been  my  privilege  to  read.  But 
these  sublime  political  philosophers  regard  it  as  wholly  unwor- 
thy their  high  sanction. 

Mr.  Speaker,  some  of  us  are  so  irreverent  as  to  begin  to  sus- 
pect that  the  real  reason  for  opposing  this  bill  is  to  be  found  in 
another  direction.  The  distinguished  gentieman  from  Pennsyl- 
vania ^  made  a  remark  this  morning  which  may  explain  his  op- 
position. He  complained  that  the  Senate  had  forced  upon  us 
the  question  of  reconstruction,  which  our  bill  did  not  touch. 
His  course  on  this  measure  leads  me  to  suspect  that  he  does 

1  Mr.  Stevens. 


not  desire  to  touch  the  question  of  reconstruction.  For  my 
part,  I  desire  that  these  Rebel  States  shall  be  restored  at  the 
earliest  moment  that  safety  and  liberty  will  allow.  The  Amer- 
ican people  desire  reconstruction.  At  the  beginning  of  the  war 
the  fiat  of  the  nation  went  forth  that  the  Union  should  not  be 
destroyed,  —  that  the  Rebel  States  should  be  brought  back  to 
their  places.  To  this  end  they  fought  and  suffered ;  to  this  end 
they  have  voted  and  we  have  legislated.  They  demand  that  we 
delay  reconstruction  until  it  can  be  done  in  the  interest  of  lib- 
erty. Beyond  that  they  will  tolerate  no  delay.  Such  a  recon- 
struction is  provided  for  in  this  bill.  I  therefore  give  it  my 
cordial  support. 

On  the  17th  of  January,  1868,  Mr.  Garfield  made  the  following  re- 
marks upon  a  bill  introduced  by  Mr.  Bingham,  of  Ohio,  additional  and 
supplemental  to  the  Reconstruction  Act  of  March  2,  1867.  The  bill 
passed  the  House,  but  never  came  to  a  vote  in  the  Senate. 

Mr.  Speaker,  —  I  shall  spend  none  of  the  few  minutes 
given  to  me  in  discussing  the  constitutionality  or  propriety 
of  the  first  section  of  this  bill,  which  declares  that  the  so-called 
State  governments  in  ten  of  the  rebellious  States  that  were  set 
up  by  the  President  without  consent  of  the  people  thereof,  and 
without  the  authority  of  Congress,  are  neither  republican  in 
form  nor  valid  in  law.  Whatever  may  be  the  opinions  of  any 
gentlemen  here,  the  doctrine  involved  in  that  section  was  decid- 
ed by  the  Thirty-ninth  Congress,  and  that  decision  was  ratified 
by  the  people  when  the  Fortieth  Congress  was  elected.  No 
political  issue  was  more  clearly  defined  or  more  decisively  set- 
tled. Let  me  remind  the  House  what  that  issue  involved,  and 
what  was  decided  by  the  result. 

The  President  and  his  followers  held  that,  though  the  Rebel- 
lion had  overthrown  all  civil  government  in  the  Rebel  States, 
yet  he,  as  the  head  of  the  Federal  government,  had  set  up  new 
governments,  which  he  deemed  republican  in  form,  and  which 
were  therefore  entitled  to  representation  in  Congress.  Congress 
denied  the  authority  of  the  President  to  build  State  govern- 
ments, and  claimed  that,  by  the  decision  of  the  Supreme  Court, 
it  was  made  the  duty  of  Congress  to  provide  for  carrying  into 
effect  that   clause  of  the    Constitution   which    declares,  "The 

VOL.  I.  17 


United  States  shall  guarantee  to  every  State  in  this  Union  a  re- 
publican form  of  government"  Congress  decreed  that,  until 
the  restoration  shall  be  accomplished,  the  Rebel  States  shall  be 
held  in  the  military  grasp  of  the  Republic;  and,  in  order  to 
restore  them  at  the  earliest  possible  day,  a  law  was  passed  ena- 
bling the  loyal  people  to  form  governments  and  build  again 
where  rebellion  had  destroyed.  Congress  did  not  commit  itself 
to  the  dogma  that  those  States  were  out  of  the  Union,  but  it 
proceeded  upon  the  acknowledged  fact  that  their  civil  govern- 
ments were  utterly  destroyed  and  should  be  rebuilt  The  Con- 
gressional plan  and  the  President's  plan  were  placed  on  trial 
before  the  people  in  the  fall  of  1866.  That  the  verdict  was 
against  the  Presidential  and  in  favor  of  the  Congressional  plan, 
is  witnessed  by  the  relative  strength  of  the  two  parties  on  this 
floor  to-day.  We  are  here  to  obey  the  people  who  sent  us. 
The  first  section  of  this  bill  is  but  a  repetition,  in  clearer  lan- 
guage, of  the  law  of  the  Thirty-ninth  Congress.  For  all  political 
purposes,  therefore,  the  doctrine  of  the  first  section  is  settled, 
and  the  case  is  closed. 

The  only  feature  to  which  I  desire  to  call  the  attention  of  the 
House  this  morning  is  the  second  section  of  the  bill.  This  sec- 
tion makes  it  the  duty  of  the  General  of  the  Army  to  assign 
such  officers  of  the  army  as  he  may  think  best  to  the  work  of 
carrying  out  the  reconstruction  law.  That  work  has  heretofore 
been  placed  in  the  hands  of  the  President.  Here  we  are  met  at 
the  threshold,  by  gentlemen  on  the  other  side,  with  the  decla- 
ration that  Congress  has  no  power  to  assign  the  General  of  the 
Army  and  his  subordinates  to  this  duty,  because  of  that  clause 
of  the  Constitution  which  makes  the  President  Commander-in- 
chief  of  the  Army  and  Navy.  I  ask  the  attention  of  the  House, 
for  a  few  moments,  to  the  consideration  of  this  objection. 

Under  the  laws  of  Great  Britain  the  king  is  not  only  Com- 
mander-in-chief of  the  Army  and  Navy,  but  is  empowered 
to  make  rules  and  regulations  for  the  government  of  the  land 
and  naval  forces  of  the  realm.  He  can  declare  war  and  con- 
clude peace.  He  is,  therefore,  in  the  full  sense  of  the  term, 
commander-in-chief.  The  Parliament  controls  him  chiefly  by 
its  right  to  grant  or  withhold  all  supplies  for  the  army  and 
navy.  When  our  fathers  framed  the  constitution  of  govern- 
ment under  which  we  live,  they  so  far  copied  the  British  law 
as  to  declare  that  the  President  of  the  United  States  should  be 


the  Commander-in-chief  of  the  Army  and  Navy ;  but  they  pro- 
ceeded to  limit  and  restrict  that  grant  of  power  by  six  distinct 
clauses  in  the  Constitution,  giving  six  distinct  powers  to  Con- 
gress. These  clauses  are  found  in  the  first  article,  section  eighth, 
and  are  as  follows :  — 

"  The  Congress  shall  have  power  .... 

"  To  declare  war,  grant  letters  of  marque  and  reprisal,  and  make  rules 
concerning  captures  on  land  and  water ; 

"  To  raise  and  support  armies,  but  no  appropriation  of  money  to  that 
use  shall  be  for  a  longer  term  than  two  years ; 

"  To  provide  and  maintain  a  navy ; 

"  To  make  rules  for  the  government  and  regulation  of  the  land  and 
naval  forces ; 

"  To  provide  for  calling  forth  the  militia  to  execute  the  laws  of  the 
Union,  suppress  insurrections,  and  repel  invasions ; 

"  To  provide  for  organizing,  arming,  and  disciplining  the  militia,  and 
for  governing  such  part  of  them  as  may  be  employed  in  the  service  of  the 
United  States,  reserving  to  the  States  respectively  the  appointment  of  the 
officers  and  the  authority  of  training  the  militia  according  to  the  discipline 
prescribed  by  Congress." 

The  power,  therefore,  which  is  conferred  upon  the  President 
by  the  declaration  of  the  Constitution  that  he  is  Commander-in- 
chief  must  always  be  understood  with  these  limitations.  With- 
out the  authority  of  Congress  there  can  be  no  War  Department, 
no  army,  no  navy.  Without  the  authority  of  Congress  there 
can  be  no  general  of  the  army.  Without  the  authority  of  Con- 
gress there  can  be  no  officers,  high  or  low,  in  the  army  or  navy 
of  the  United  States.  We  therefore  begin  with  these  constitu- 
tional limitations  of  the  President's  authority  as  Commander-in- 
chief.  Now,  how  has  Congress  used  its  power  heretofore  in 
reference  to  the  army?  In  1789,  by  an  act  approved  August  7, 
Congress  established  a  War  Department,  enacted  laws  to  gov- 
ern it,  and  from  time  to  time  thereafter  established  subordinate 
departments  and  bureaus  in  that  department. 

Let  it  be  noticed,  also,  that  another  clause  of  the  Constitu- 
tion may  be  applied  here.  Congress  may  authorize  the  heads 
of  departments  to  appoint  inferior  officers.  It  might  have  au- 
thorized the  Secretary  of  War  to  appoint  every  officer  of  the 
army.  It  can  do  so  now.  It  is  plainly  in  our  power  to  take 
every  military  appointment  from  the  President,  and  place  it 
solely  in  the  hands  of  the  Secretary  of  War.     Congress  did  not 


choose  to  take  that  course,  but  it  did  establish  all  the  subordi- 
nate departments  of  the  government,  and  prescribes  the  duties 
of  officers  in  those  departments. 

By  an  act  of  Congress,  approved  May  22,  181 2,  the  Quarter- 
master-General is  authorized  to  appoint  barrack-masters.  Now, 
can  the  President  appoint  barrack-masters  in  contravention  of 
that  law?  Congress  conferred  that  power  upon  the  Quarter- 
master-General, and  the  President,  though  Commander-in-chief, 
cannot  exercise  that  function  without  usurpation.  The  same 
act  requires  quartermasters  to  give  properly  secured  bonds  be- 
fore performing  any  of  the  duties  of  their  appointment.  Can 
the  President  legally  order  them  to  perform  such  duty  before 
such  bonds  are  given? 

By  a  law  of  Congress  approved  April  10,  1806,  it  is  declared 
that  "  the  Judge- Advocate,  or  some  person  deputed  by  him  or 
by  the  general  or  officer  commanding  the  army,  detachment,  or 
garrison,  shall  prosecute  in  the  name  of  the  United  States.'*  Can 
the  President  of  the  United  States  prosecute  an  officer  or  pri- 
vate before  a  court-martial?  He  cannot,  because  Congress  has 
conferred  upon  a  subordinate  officer  of  the  army  that  power, 
and  the  President,  though  Commander-in-chief,  cannot  set  it 

A  friend  near  me  says  these  are  subordinates.  I  answer,  that 
the  General  of  the  Army  of  the  United  States  is  also  a  subordi- 
nate. He  is,  to  Congress,  as  subordinate  as  a  judge-advocate,  a 
quartermaster,  or  a  barrack- master.  It  makes  no  difference 
how  high  his  rank  may  be,  he  is  none  the  less  subordinate  to 
Cojigress.  The  President  is  Commander-in-chief,  but  he  must 
command  in  accordance  with  the  Rules  and  Articles  of  War,  — 
the  acts  of  Congress. 

I  call  attention  to  the  oath  that  every  officer  and  enlisted  man 
takes  before  entering  the  army.  It  is  in  these  words :  '*  I  do 
solemnly  swear  that  I  will  bear  true  allegiance  to  the  United 
States,  ....  and  will  observe  and  obey  the  orders  of  the 
President  of  the  United  States,  and  the  orders  of  the  officers 
appointed  over  me,  according  to  the  rules  and  articles  for  the 
government  of  the  army  of  the  United  States."  Now,  should 
the  President  of  the  United  States  give  to  the  humblest  officer 
of  the  army  an  order  contrary  to  the  Rules  and  Articles  of  War, 
or  to  any  law  of  Congress,  the  subordinate  can  peremptorily 
refuse  to  obey,  because  the    order  has  not  been  given  in  ac- 


cordance  with  the  rules  and  regulations  of  the  power  which 
commands  both  him  and  the  President.  ' 

If  Congress  can  make  laws  assigning  special  duties  to  subordi- 
nate officers,  such  as  judge-advocates,  quartermasters,  and  bar- 
rack-masters, what  new  doctrine  is  this  that  it  may  not  also 
assign  special  duties  to  the  General  of  the  Army?  The  volumes 
of  statutes  are  full  of  laws  of  Congress,  commanding  all  classes 
of  officers  to  perform  all  kinds  of  duties.  It  is  now  proposed  to 
require  of  the  General  of  the  Army  the  performance  of  a  special 
duty,  —  the  duty  of  directing  the  operations  of  that  part  of  the 
army  which  occupies  the  States  lately  in  rebellion.  If  the  gen- 
eral should  neglect  this  duty,  the  President,  as  Commander-in- 
chief,  can  call  him  to  account  for  such  neglect,  but  he  cannot 
prevent  his  obedience  to  the  law. 

I  now  come  to  inquire  why  this  legislation  is  needed.  It  is 
because  this  Congress,  in  its  work  of  restoring  to  their  places 
the  States  lately  in  rebellion,  authorized  the  President  to  assign 
the  officers  of  the  army  to  the  duties  prescribed  in  the  law,  and 
the  President  has  made  such  use  of  that  authority  as  to  obstruct 
and  delay  the  restoration  of  those  States.  Without  violating 
the  letter  of  the  law,  he  has  been  able,  in  a  great  measure,  to 
hinder  its  full  and  efficient  execution.  His  acts  and  those 
of  his  advisers  are  to-day  the  chief  obstacles  to  the  prompt 
restoration  of  the  Rebel  States;  and  Congress  proposes  to 
remove  those  obstacles,  by  transferring  this  authority  to  the 
hands  of  one  who  has  shown  his  loyalty  to  the  country  and  his 
willingness  to  obey  the  laws  of  the  Union. 

Mr.  Speaker,  I  will  not  repeat  the  long  catalogue  of  obstaic- 
tions  which  the  President  has  thrown  in  the  way,  by  virtue  of 
the  power  conferred  upon  him  in  the  reconstruction  law  of  1867 1 
but  I  will  allude  to  one  example  where  he  has  found  in  a  major- 
general  of  the  army  a  facile  instrument  with  which  more  effect- 
ually to  obstruct  the  work  of  reconstruction.  This  case  is  all 
the  more  painful,  because  an  otherwise  meritorious  officer,  who 
bears  honorable  scars  earned  in  battle  for  the  Union,  has  been 
made  a  party  to  the  political  madness  which  has  so  long  marked 
the  conduct  of  the  President.  This  general  was  sent  into  the 
district  of  Louisiana  and  Texas  with  a  law  of  Congress  in  his 
hand,  a  law  that  commands  him  to  see  that  justice  is  adminis- 
tered among  the  people  of  that  country,  and  that  no  pretence  of 
civil  authority  shall  deter  him  from  performing  his  duty;  and 


yet  we  find  that  officer  giving  lectures  in  the  form  of  proclama- 
tions and  orders  on  what  ought  to  be  the  relation  between  the 
civil  and  military  departments  of  the  government.  We  see  him 
issuing  a  general  order,  in  which  he  declares  that  the  civil  power 
should  not  give  way  before  the  military.  We  hear  him  declaring 
that  he  finds  nothing  in  the  laws  of  Louisiana  and  Texas  to  war- 
rant his  interference  in  the  civil  administration  of  those  States. 
It  is  not  for  him  to  say  which  should  be  first,  the  civil  or  the 
military  authority,  in  that  Rebel  community.  It  is  not  for  him 
to  search  the  defunct  laws  of  Louisiana  and  Texas  for  a  guide 
to  his  conduct.  It  is  for  him  to  execute  the  laws  which  he  was 
sent  there  to  administer.  It  is  for  him  to  aid  in  building  up 
civil  governments,  rather  than  to  prepare  himself  to  be  the  Presi- 
dential candidate  of  that  party  which  gave  him  no  sympathy 
when  he  was  gallantly  fighting  the  battles  of  the  country. 

Some  of  our  friends  say,  since  the  President  is  the  chief  obsta- 
cle, remove  him  by  impeachment.  As  the  end  is  more  impor- 
tant than  the  means,  so  is  the  rebuilding  of  law  and  liberty  on 
the  ruins  of  anarchy  and  slavery  more  important  than  the  im- 
peachment of  Andrew  Johnson.  If,  by  placing  the  work  in 
other  hands,  it  can  be  done  more  speedily  than  through  the 
slow  process  of  impeachment,  we  shall  so  much  sooner  end  the 
reign  of  chaos  in  the  South.  Let  no  man  suppose  that,  because 
this  House  did  not  resolve  to  proceed  .with  impeachment,  it 
will  abandon  the  loyal  men  of  the  South  to  the  tender  mercies 
of  Rebels,  or  to  the  insane  policy  of  the  President  and  his 

Mr.  Speaker,  the  Union  party  will  take  no  step  backward  in 
this  work  of  reconstruction.  The  policy  inaugurated  by  the 
Thirty-ninth  Congress  we  are  now  carrying  out.  The  State  of 
Tennessee  has  already  been  restored  to  its  relations  to  the 
Union.  Alabama  has  prepared  a  constitution,  and  on  the  4th 
of  February  her  loyal  people  will  vote  to  adopt  or  reject  it;  and 
before  the  middle  of  that  month  I  expect  to  see  her  repre- 
sentatives occupying  seats  in  these  halls.  Seven  of  the  Rebel 
States  are  now  holding  conventions  and  framing  constitutions 
of  government  in  pursuance  of  the  laws  of  Congress;  and  in 
the  two  remaining  States,  Florida  and  Texas,  elections  have  been 
ordered,  and  the  people  will  soon  vote  for  or  against  a  conven- 
tion. The  work  is  going  on;  and,  if  there  be  no  adverse  action 
to  thwart   it,  before  another  twelvemonth  we  shall  see  most, 


if  not  all,  of  these  States  completely  restored.  Who  now  is 
opposing  it?  Gentlemen  upon  the  other  side  are  manifestly 
arrayed  with  the  President  in  endeavoring  to  obstruct  the  work 
of  reconstruction ;  and  without  charging  upon  them  Rebel  sym- 
pathies, or  imputing  to  them  any  improper  motives,  I  do  say 
that  their  conduct  is  pleasing  to  every  unrepentant  and  un- 
hanged traitor  in  the  South.  The  whole  mass  of  the  Rebel 
population  are  in  favor  of  obstructing  the  reconstruction  pol- 
icy of  Congress.  There  is  not  a  man  who  went  into  rebellion 
against  the  government,  not  a  guerilla  who  shot  down  our 
wounded  soldiers  in  ambulances,  not  a  man  that  burned  our 
cities  and  steamboats,  not  a  man  that  starved  our  prisoners, 
not  a  man  who  aided  in  the  assassination  of  our  President, 
not  a  Rebel,  from  one  end  of  the  country  to  the  other,  who 
is  not  to-day  in  sympathy  with  this  party  in  Congress  in  its 
attempts  to  obstruct  and  defeat  the  reconstruction  policy  of 

With  such  a  combination  against  us,  does  any  one  suppose 
that  we  can  take  one  step  backward,  —  much  less,  that  we  will 
permit  an  officer  of  our  army  to  fling  back  in  our  faces  his 
contempt  of  the  law,  and  tell  us  what  policy  shall  be  adopt- 
ed? It  was  reported  in  the  public  papers  only  yesterday,  that 
the  Governor  of  Texas  had  informed  General  Hancock  that 
murderers  in  Texas  could  not  be  punished  by  the  civil  law. 
Yet  this  general  sends  back  word  to  the  Governor  of  Texas, 
that  he  docs  not  wish  to  interfere  in  any  civil  matters.  Sir,  he 
was  sent  down  there  for  the  very  purpose  of  interfering  in  such 
matters  as  the  non-punishment  of  murderers. 

The  first  two  paragraphs  of  Mr.  Garfield's  remarks  on  the  bill  admitting 
Georgia  to  representation  in  Congress,  made  in  the  House,  June  24, 
1870,  are  also  given. 

Mr.  Speaker,  —  I  have  been  a  listener  for  the  last  two  years 
to  what  has  been  said  on  the  subject  of  reconstruction,  and  dur- 
ing that  time  have  rarely  taken  a  part  in  these  debates.  We 
have  now  reached  a  critical  period  in  our  legislation,  when  we 
are  called  upon  to  perform  the  final  act,  —  to  complete,  for  bet- 
ter or  for  worse,  the  reconstruction  policy  of  the  government. 


I  have  followed  the  remarks  of  my  colleague  from  Ohio,^  as  well 
as  those  of  other  gentlemen,  and  I  confess  that  any  attempt  at 
reconciling  all  we  have  done  on  the  subject  of  reconstruction  so 
as  to  form  consistent  precedents  for  any  given  theory  of  legis- 
lative action  is,  to  my  mind,  a  failure.  There  are  no  theories 
for  the  management  of  whirlwinds  and  earthquakes.  There  are 
no  precedents  for  any  of  the  great  and  sudden  evils  of  society 
which  are  themselves  unprecedented. 

While  on  the  whole  the  historian  will  be  able  to  trace  a  gen- 
eral line  of  conduct  not  altogether  inconsistent  with  itself,  dur- 
ing the  last  five  or  six  years  of  our  legislation  on  this  subject,  I 
think  he  will  find  many  anomalies  in  the  course  of  that  history. 
For  my  part,  I  have  never  admitted  the  doctrine  of  State  sui- 
cide. I  opposed  that  doctrine  in  1864;  I  opposed  it  again  in 
1866,  at  a  time  when  it  was  popular  here  and  in  the  other  end 
of  the  Capitol ;  and  I  am  glad  to  know  the  settled  policy  of  the 
country  has  at  last  also  condemned  it.  While  we  did  not  as  a 
nation  admit  the  doctrine  that  States,  by  rebellion,  could  go  out 
of  the  Union  and  set  themselves  up  as  independent  States  ex- 
cept by  successful  revolution,  the  nation  nevertheless  held  and 
asserted  that,  under  the  Constitution,  we  had  the  amplest  power 
to  coerce  by  arms,  and  then  to  restore  to  its  place  in  the  Union, 
any  State  that  chose  to  destroy  its  organization,  and  rebel  against 
the  government  of  the  United  States.  In  the  exercise  of  those 
high  constitutional  functions,  we  first  put  down  the  Rebellion, 
and  have  since  been  setting  up,  one  by  one,  the  shattered  pillars 
of  these  States  which  the  Rebellion  attempted  to  demolish,  and 
thus  to  destroy  the  noble  structure  of  the  Union.  It  is  now  in 
our  hands  to  determine  how  Georgia,  the  last  of  the  Rebel 
States,  shall  be  restored  to  her  place  in  the  great  temple  of 

1  Mr.  Bingham. 




June  14,  1867. 

In  the  course  of  the  school  year  1866-67,  the  Trustees  of  the  West- 
em  Reserve  Eclectic  Institute,  at  which  Mr.  Garfield  had  prepared  for 
college,  of  which  he  was  Principal  from  1857  to  186 1,  and  of  which  he 
was  now  a  Trustee,  took  steps  to  clothe  the  institution  with  the  powers 
and  responsibilities  of  a  college  with  its  present  name,  Hiram  College. 
The  transition  was  effected  at  the  close  of  that  year.  The  occasion  was 
recognized  by  the  delivery  of  the  following  address.  The  facts  now 
stated  —  the  change  of  the  character  and  name  of  the  school,  and  the 
adoption  of  a  new  course  of  study —  will  explain  some  of  Mr.  Garfield's 
remarks,  especially  towards  the  close  of  the  address. 

GENTLEMEN  OF  the  Literary  Societies,  —  I  con- 
gratulate you  on  the  significant  fact,  that  the  questions 
which  most  vitally  concern  your  personal  work  are  at  this  time 
rapidly  becoming,  indeed  have  already  become,  questions  of 
first  importance  to  the  whole  nation.  In  ordinary  times,  we 
could  scarcely  find  two  subjects  wider  apart  than  the  medita- 
tions of  a  schoolboy,  when  he  asks  what  he  shall  do  with  him- 
self, and  how  he  shall  do  it,  and  the  forecastings  of  a  great 
nation,  when  it  studies  the  laws  of  its  own  life,  and  endeavors  to 
solve  the  problem  of  its  destiny.  But  now  there  is  more  than  a 
resemblance  between  the  nation's  work  and  yours.  If  the  two 
are  not  identical,  they  at  least  bear  the  relation  of  the  whole  to 
a  part. 

The  nation,  having  passed  through  the  childhood  of  its  his- 
tory, and  being  about  to  enter  upon  a  new  life,  based  on  a  fuller 
recognition  of  the  rights  of  manhood,  has  discovered  that  liberty 


can  be  safe  only  when  the  suffrage  is  illuminated  by  education. 
It  is  now  perceived  that  the  life  and  light  of  a  nation  are  insep- 
arable. Hence  the  Federal  government  has  established  a  Na- 
tional Department  of  Education,  for  the  purpose  of  teaching 
young  men  and  women  how  to  be  good  citizens. 

You,  young  gentlemen,  having  passed  the  limits  of  childhood, 
and  being  about  to  enter  the  larger  world  of  manhood,  with  its 
manifold  struggles  and  aspirations,  are  now  confronted  with  the 
question,  "  What  must  I  do  to  fit  myself  most  completely,  not 
for  being  a  citizen  merely,  but  for  being  all  that  doth  become 
a  man  living  in  the  full  light  of  the  Christian  civilization  of 
America?  "  Your  disinthralled  and  victorious  country  asks  you 
to  be  educated  for  her  sake,  and  the  noblest  aspirations  of  your 
being  still  more  imperatively  ask  it  for  your  own  sake.  In  the 
hope  that  I  may  aid  you  in  solving  some  of  these  questions,  I 
have  chosen  for  my  theme  on  this  occasion,  The  Course  of 
Study  in  American  Colleges,  and  its'  Adaptation  to  the  Wants 
of  our  Time. 

Before  examining  any  course  of  study,  we  should  clearly  ap- 
prehend the  objects  to  be  obtained  by  a  liberal  education.  In 
general,  it  may  be  said  that  the  purpose  of  all  study  is  two- 
fold,—  to  discipline  our  faculties,  and  to  acquire  knowledge  for 
the  duties  of  life.  It  is  happily  provided  in  the  constitution  of 
the  human  mind,  that  the  labor  by  which  knowledge  is  acquired 
is  the  only  means  of  disciplining  the  powers.  It  may  be  stated 
as  a  general  rule,  that  if  we  compel  ourselves  to  learn  what  we 
ought  to  know,  and  use  it  when  learned,  our  discipline  will  take 
care  of  itself.  Let  us,  then,  inquire.  What  kinds  of  knowledge 
should  be  the  objects  of  a  liberal  education? 

Without  adopting  in  full  the  classification  of  Herbert  Spen- 
cer,^ it  will  be  sufficiently  comprehensive  for  my  present  pur- 
pose to  name  the  following  kinds  of  knowledge,  stated  in  the 
order  of  their  importance:  — 

First.  That  knowledge  which  is  necessary  for  the  full  devel- 
opment of  our  bodies  and  the  preservation  of  our  health. 

Second.  The  knowledge  of  those  principles  by  which  the 
useful  arts  and  industries  are  carried  on  and  improved. 

Third.  That  knowledge  which  is  necessary  to  a  full  compre- 
hension of  our  rights  and  duties  as  citizens. 

1  Education,  Intellectual,  Moral,  and  Physical,  Chap.  I.,  **  What  Knowledge 
is  of  most  Worth  ? " 


Fourth.  A  knowledge  of  the  intellectual,  moral,  religious, 
and  aesthetic  nature  of  man,  and  his  relations  to  nature  and  civ- 

Fifth.  That  special  and  thorough  knowledge  which  is  requi- 
site for  the  particular  profession  or  pursuit  which  a  man  may 
choose  as  his  life-work  after  he  has  completed  his  college 

In  brief,  the  student  should  study  himself,  his  relations  to 
society,  to  nature,  and  to  art;  and  above  all,  in  all,  and  through 
all  these,  he  should  study  the  relations  of  himself,  society,  na- 
ture, and  art,  to  God,  the  author  of  them  all. 

Of  course  it  is  not  possible,  nor  is  it  desirable,  to  confine  the 
course  of  development  exclusively  to  this  order ;  for  truths  are 
so  related  and  correlated  that  no  department  of  the  realm  of 
Truth  is  wholly  isolated.  We  cannot  learn  much  that  pertains 
to  the  industry  of  society,  without  learning  something  of  the 
material  world,  and  the  laws  which  govern  it.  We  cannot  study 
nature  profoundly  without  bringing  ourselves  into  communion 
with  the  spirit  of  art,  which  pervades  and  fills  the  universe.  But 
what  I  suggest  is,  that  we  should  make  the  course  of  study 
conform  generally  to  the  order  here  indicated ;  that  the  student 
shall  first  study  what  he  most  needs  to  know ;  that  the  order  of 
his  needs  shall  be  the  order  of  his  work. 

Now,  it  will  not  be  denied  that,  from  the  day  when  the  child's 
foot  first  presses  the  green  turf  till  the  day  when,  an  old  man, 
he  is  ready  to  be  laid  under  it,  there  is  not  an  hour  in  which  he 
does  not  need  to  know  a  thousand  things  in  relation  to  his 
body,  —  what  he  shall  eat,  what  he  shall  drink,  and  wherewithal 
he  shall  be  clothed.  Unprovided  with  that  instinct  which  en- 
ables the  lower  animals  to  reject  the  noxious  and  select  the 
nutritive,  man  must  learn  even  the  most  primary  truth  that 
ministers  to  his  self-preservation.  If  parents  were  themselves 
sufficiently  educated,  most  of  this  knowledge  might  be  acquired 
at  the  mother's  knee ;  but,  by  the  strangest  perversion  and  mis- 
direction of  the  educational  forces,  these  most  essential  elements 
of  knowledge  are  more  neglected  than  any  other. 

School  committees  would  summarily  dismiss  the  teacher  who 
should  have  the  good  sense  and  courage  to  spend  three  days  of 
each  week  with  her  pupils  in  the  fields  and  woods,  teaching 
them  the  names,  peculiarities,  and  uses  of  rocks,  trees,  plants, 
and  flowers,  and  the  beautiful  story  of  the  animals,  birds,  and 

1 1  ■; 



can  be  safe  only  when  the  su 
It  is  now  perceived  that  th 
arable.    Hence  the  Fedcr 
tional  Department  of  i 
young  men  and  woi^ 

You,  young  gcntl* 
and  being  about  t 
manifold  stru$r<'- 
question,   ''VN' 

I ' 

..V,   beauty.     They  will 

...;.   :hat  undefended  and 

iivsical  and  intellectual 

.^    J  Silence,  in  a  vain  attempt 

V  L>rinted  page,  for  six  hours 

,1  he  finished  his  slaughter  of 

.  ,>  jtactice  kills  by  the  savagery 

for  being  n 
a  man  1^^ 
to  lv_ 


^>*  ■■«. 

V  ^ 

\   s  » 

...^v::cd  to  study?     Besides  the  mass 

..:tv:'i  he  is  compelled  to  memorize,  not 

V.    ».wcrstands,  at  eight  or  ten  years  of 

..  :*'!!j;lish  grammar,  —  one  of  the  most 

.:o   metaphysical  of  studies,    requiring    a 

and  discipline  to  master   it.     Thus  are 

at   worse   than   squandered  —  those   thrice 

>  •  .v»»  '-he  child  is  all  ear  and  eye,  when  its  eager 

.^.,.uu*ie  curiosity,  hungers  and  thirsts  to  know  the 

-w  .k  >\  v»f  the  world  and  its  wonderful  furniture.     We 

X  xuvvt  clamor  by  cramming  its  hungry   mind   with 

^^^      empty,  meaningless  words.     It  asks  for  bread, 

•  a  ^tonc.     It  is  to  me  a  perpetual  wonder  that 

.  ,  X    ^*\e  of  knowledge   survives   the   outrages   of  the 

'^  ,..w.      li  would  be  foreign  to  my  present  purpose  to 

»:;thei  the  subject  of  primary  education ;  but  it  is  wor- 

,  ,       .Mv»knnulest  thought,  for  **  out  of  it  arc  the  issues  of 

I  'KiL  man  will  be  a  benefactor  of  his  race  who  shall  teach 

>,u  iv*  manage  rightly  the  first  years  of  a  child's  education. 

^v,  v».ie»  vleelare  that  no  child  of  mine  shall  ever  be  compelled 

.  x,.:J\  vMK*  hour,  or  to  learn  even  the  English  alphabet,  before 

V  h^i.-*  deposited  under  his  skin  at  least  seven  years  of  muscle 

\\  hat  ate  our  seminaries  and  colleges  accomplishing  in  the 

wax  v»J  teaching  the  laws  of  life  and  physical  well-being?     I 

^hvHild  scarcely  wrong  them  were  I  to  answer,  Nothing,  —  abso- 

Uilclv  n\»thing.     The  few  recitations  which  some  of  the  colleges 

j^^^iiio  in  anatomy  and  physiology  unfold  but  the  alphabet  of 

\h\vie  sciences.     The  emphasis  of  college  culture  does  not  fall 

th**ri*.      I'he  graduate  has  learned  the  Latin  of  the  old  maxim, 

^ms  sana  in  corpore  sano ;  but  how  to  strengthen  the  mind  by 

iV  preservation  of  the  body,  he  has  never  learned.     He  can 

^iJl  you  in  Xenophon's  best  Attic  Greek,  that  Apollo  flayed 


the  unhappy  Marsyas,  and  hanged  up  his  skin  as  a  trophy;  but 
he  has  never  examined  the  wonderful  texture  of  his  own  skin, 
or  the  laws  by  which  he  may  preserve  it.  He  would  blush,  were 
he  to  mistake  the  place  of  a  Greek  accent,  or  put  the  ictus  on 
the  second  syllable  of  ^olus;  but  the  whole  circle  liberalium  ^..f^' 
artiiun,  so  pompously  referred  to  in  his  diploma  of  graduation, 
may  not  have  taught  him,  as  I  can  testify  in  an  instance  person- 
ally known  to  me,  whether  \A\cjg'umtm  is  a  bone,  or  the  humerus 
an  intestine.  Every  hour  of  study  consumes  a  portion  of  his 
muscular  and  vital  force.  Every  tissue  of  his  body  requires  its 
appropriate  nourishment,  the  elements  of  which  are  found  in 
abundance  in  the  various  products  of  nature ;  but  he  has  never 
inquired  where  he  shall  find  the  phosphates  and  carbonates  of 
lime  for  his  bones,  albumen  and  fibrine  for  his  blood,  and 
phosphorus  for  his  brain.  His  chemistry,  mineralogy,  botany, 
anatomy,  and  physiology,  if  thoroughly  studied,  would  give  all 
this  knowledge ;  but  he  has  been  intent  on  things  remote  and 
foreign,  and  has  given  little  heed  to  those  matters  which  so 
nearly  concern  the  chief  functions  of  life.  Yet  the  student 
should  not  be  blamed.  The  great  men  of  history  have  set  him 
the  example.  Copernicus  discovered  and  announced  the  true 
theory  of  the  solar  system  a  hundred  years  before  the  circulation 
of  the  blood  was  known.  Though  from  the  heart  to  the  surface, 
and  from  the  surface  back  to  the  heart  of  every  man  of  the  race, 
some  twenty  pounds  of  blood  had  made  the  circuit  once  every 
three  minutes,  from  the  creation  of  the  first  man,  yet  men  were 
looking  so  steadily  away  from  themselves  that  they  did  not  ob- 
serve the  wonderful  fact.  Man's  habit  of  thought  has  devel- 
oped itself  in  all  the  courses  of  college  study. 

In  the  next  place,  I  inquire,  What  kinds  of  knowledge  are 
necessary  for  carrying  on  and  improving  the  useful  arts  and  in- 
dustries of  civilized  life  ?  I  am  well  aware  of  the  current  notion 
that  these  muscular  arts  should  stay  in  the  fields  and  shops,  and 
not  invade  the  sanctuaries  of  learning.  A  finished  education  is 
supposed  to  consist  mainly  of  literary  culture.  The  story  of  the 
forges  of  the  Cyclops,  where  the  thunderbolts  of  Jove  were 
fashioned,  is  supposed  to  adorn  elegant  scholarship  more  grace- 
fully than  those  sturdy  truths  which  are  preached  to  this  gener- 
ation in  the  wonders  of  the  mine,  in  the  fire  of  the  furnace,  in 
the  clang  of  the  iron-mill,  and  the  other  innumerable  industries 
which,  more  than  all  other  human  agencies,  have  made  our  civil- 


ization  what  it  is,  and  are  destined  to  achieve  wonders  yet  un- 
dreamed of.  This  generation  is  beginning  to  understand  that 
education  should  not  be  forever  divorced  from  industry,  —  that 
the  highest  results  can  be  reached  only  when  science  guides  the 
hand  of  labor.  With  what  eagerness  and  alacrity  is  industry 
seizing  every  truth  of  science,  and  putting  it  in  harness  !  A  few 
years  ago,  Bessemer,  of  England,  studying  the  nice  affinities 
between  carbon  and  the  metals,  discovered  that  a  slight  change 
of  combination  would  produce  a  metal  possessing  the  ductility 
of  iron  and  the  compactness  of  steel,  and  which  would  cost  but 
little  more  than  common  iron.  One  rail  of  this  metal  will  out- 
last fifteen  of  the  iron  rails  now  in  use.  Millions  of  capital  are 
already  invested  to  utilize  this  thought  of  Bessemer,  which  must 
soon  revolutionize  the  iron  manufacture  of  the  world. 

Another  example.  The  late  war  raised  the  price  of  cotton 
and  paper  made  of  cotton  rags.  It  was  found  that  good  paper 
could  be  manufactured  from  the  fibre  of  soft  wood ;  but  it  was 
expensive  and  difficult  to  reduce  the  wood  to  pulp,  without 
chopping  the  fibre  in  pieces.  A  Yankee  mechanic,  who  had 
learned  from  the  science  of  vegetable  anatomy  that  a  billet  of 
wood  is  composed  of  millions  of  hollow  cylinders,  many  of  them 
so  small  that  only  the  microscope  can  reveal  them,  and  having 
learned  also  the  penetrative  and  expansive  power  of  steam,  wed- 
ded these  two  truths  in  an  experiment,  which,  if  exhibited  to 
Socrates,  would  have  been  declared  a  miracle  from  the  gods. 
The  experiment  was  very  simple.  Putting  his  block  of  wood  in 
a  strong  box,  he  forced  into  it  a  volume  of  superheated  steam, 
which  made  its  way  into  the  minutest  pore  and  cell  of  the  wood. 
Then,  through  a  trap-door  suddenly  opened,  the  block  was 
tossed  out.  The  outside  pressure  being  removed,  the  expand- 
ing steam  instantly  burst  every  one  of  the  million  tubes ;  every 
vegetable  flue  collapsed,  and  his  block  of  wood  lay  before  him  a 
mass  of  fleecy  fibre,  more  delicate  than  the  hand  of  man  could 
make  it. 

Machinery  is  the  chief  implement  with  which  civilization  does 
its  work ;  but  the  science  of  mechanics  is  impossible  without 
mathematics.  But  for  her  mineral  resources  England  would  be 
only  the  hunting-park  of  Europe,  and  it  is  believed  that  her  day 
of  greatness  will  terminate  when  her  coal-fields  are. exhausted. 
Our  mineral  wealth  is  a  thousand  times  greater  than  hers ;  and 
yet,  without  the  knowledge  of  geology,  mineralogy,  metallurgy. 


and  chemistry,  our  mines  can  be  of  but  little  value.  Without 
a  knowledge  of  astronomy,  commerce  on  the  sea  is  impossible ; 
and  now,  at  last,  it  is  being  discovered  that  the  greatest  of  all 
our  industries,  agriculture,  in  which  three  fourths  of  all  our 
population  are  engaged,  must  call  science  to  its  aid,  if  it  would 
keep  up  with  the  demands  of  civilization.  I  need  not  enumer- 
ate the  extent  and  variety  of  knowledge,  scientific  and  practical, 
which  a  farmer  needs  in  order  to  reach  the  full  height  and 
scope  of  his  noble  calling. 

And  what  has  our  American  system  of  education  done  for 
this  controlling  majority  of  the  people?  I  can  best  answer  that 
question  with  a  single  fact.  Notwithstanding  there  are  in  the 
United  States  one  hundred  and  twenty  thousand  common 
schools  and  seven  thousand  academies  and  seminaries,  —  not- 
withstanding there  are  two  hundred  and  seventy-five  colleges 
where  young  men  may  be  graduated  as  bachelors  and  masters 
of  the  liberal  arts,  —  yet  in  all  these  the  people  of  the  United 
States  have  found  so  little  being  done  or  likely  to  be  done,  to 
educate  men  for  the  work  of  agriculture,  that  they  have  de- 
manded, and  at  last  have  secured  from  their  political  servants  in 
Congress,  an  appropriation  sufficient  to  build  and  maintain,  in 
each  State  of  the  Union,  a  college  for  the  education  of  farm- 
ers. This  great  outlay  would  have  .been  totally  unnecessary, 
but  for  the  stupid  and  criminal  neglect  of  college,  academic, 
and  common-school  boards  of  education  to  furnish  that  which 
the  wants  of  the  people  require.  The  scholar  and  the  worker 
must  join  hands,  if  both  would  be  successful. 

I  next  ask,  What  studies  arc  necessary  to  teach  our  young 
men  and  women  the  history  and  spirit  of  our  government,  and 
their  rights  and  duties  as  citizens?  There  is  not  now,  and 
there  never  was  on  this  earth,  a  people  who  have  had  so  many 
and  weighty  reasons  for  loving  their  country,  and  thanking 
God  for  the  blessings  of  civil  and  religious  liberty,  as  our  own. 
And  yet  seven  years  ago  there  was  probably  less  strong,  ear- 
nest, open  love  of  country  in  the  United  States  than  in  any 
other  nation  of  Christendom.  It  is  true  that  the  gulf  of  anarchy 
and  ruin  into  which  treason  threatened  to  plunge  us  startled 
the  nation  as  by  an  electric  shock,  and  galvanized  into  life  its 
dormant  and  dying  patriotism.  But  how  came  it  dormant  and 
dying?  I  do  not  hesitate  to  affirm,  that  one  of  the  chief  causes 
was  our  defective  system  of  education.     Seven  years  ago  there 


was  scarcely  an  American  college  in  which  more  than  four 
weeks  out  of  the  four  years'  course  was  devoted  to  studying 
the  government  and  history  of  the  United  States.  For  this* 
feature  of  our  educational  system  I  have  neither  respect  nor  tol- 
eration. It  is  far  inferior  to  that  of  Persia  three  thousand  years 
ago.  The  uncultivated  tribes  of  Greece,  Rome,  Libya,  and  Ger- 
many surpassed  us  in  this  respect.  Grecian  children  were  taught 
to  reverence  and  emulate  the  virtues  of  their  ancestors.  Our 
educational  forces  are  so  wielded  as  to  teach  our  children  to  ad- 
mire most  that  which  is  foreign,  and  fabulous,  and  dead.  I  have 
recently  examined  the  catalogue  of  a  leading  New  England  col- 
lege, in  which  the  geography  and  history  of  Greece  and  Rome 
are  required  to  be  studied  five  terms ;  but  neither  the  history 
nor  the  geography  of  the  United  States  is  named  in  the  college 
course,  or  required  as  a  condition  of  admission.  The  American 
child  must  know  all  the  classic  rivers,  from  the  Scamander  to 
the  yellow  Tiber ;  must  tell  you  the  length  of  the  Appian  Way, 
and  of  the  canal  over  which  Horace  and  Virgil  sailed  on  their 
journey  to  Brundusium ;  but  he  may  be  crowned  with  bacca- 
laureate honors  without  having  heard,  since  his  first  moment 
of  Freshman  life,  one  word  concerning  the  one  hundred  and 
twenty-two  thousand  miles  of  coast  and  river  navigation,  the  six 
thousand  miles  of  canal,  ^nd  the  thirty-five  thousand  miles  of 
railroad,  which  indicate  both  the  prosperity  and  the  possibilities 
of  his  own  country. 

It  is  well  to  know  the  history  of  those  magnificent  nations 
whose  origin  is  lost  in  fable,  and  whose  epitaphs  were  written  a 
thousand  years  ago ;  but  if  wc  cannot  know  both,  it  is  far  bet- 
ter to  study  the  history  of  our  own  nation,  whose  origin  we  can 
trace  to  the  freest  and  noblest  aspirations  of  the  human  heart, — 
a  nation  that  was  formed  from  the  hardiest,  purest,  and  most 
enduring  elements  of  European  civilization,  —  a  nation  that,  by 
its  faith  and  courage,  has  dared  and  accomplished  more  for  the 
human  race  in  a  single  century  than  Europe  accomplished  in 
the  first  thousand  years  of  the  Christian  era. 

The  New  England  township  was  the  type  after  which  our 
Federal  government  was  modelled  ;  yet  it  would  be  rare  to  find 
a  college  student  who  can  make  a  comprehensive  and  intelligent 
statement  of  the  municipal  organization  of  the  township  in  which 
he  lives,  and  tell  you  by  what  officers  its  legislative,  judicial,  and 
executive    functions   are    administered.     One    half  of  the  time 


which  is  now  almost  wholly  wasted  in  district  schools  on  Eng- 
lish grammar,  attempted  at  too  early  an  age,  would  be  sufficient 
to  teach  our  children  to  love  the  republic,  and  to  become  its 
loyal  and  life-long  supporters.  After  the  bloody  baptism  from 
which  the  nation  has  arisen  to  a  higher  and  nobler  life,  if  this 
shameful  defect  in  our  system  of  education  be  not  speedily 
remedied,  wc  shall  deserve  the  infinite  contempt  of  future  gen- 
erations. I  insist  that  it  should  be  made  an  indispensable  con- 
dition of  graduation  in  every  American  college,  that  the  student 
must  understand  the  history  of  this  continent  since  its  discovery 
by  Europeans ;  the  origin  and  history  of  the  United  States,  its 
constitution  of  government,  the  struggles  through  which  it  has 
passed,  and  the  rights  and  duties  of  citizens  who  are  to  deter- 
mine its  destiny  and  share  its  glory. 

I  Having^thus  gained  the  knowledge  which  is  necessary  to  life,. 
healthy  industry,  and  citizenship,  the  student]  is  prepared  to 
enter  a  wider  and  grander  field  of  thought.  It  he  desires  that 
large  and  liberal  culture  which  will  call  into  activity  all  his  pow- 
ers, and  make  the  most  of  the  material  God  has  given  him,  he 
^ust  study  deeply  and  earnestly  the  intellectual,  the  moral,  the 
religious,  and  the  aesthetic  nature  of  man]  —  his  relations  to  na- 
ture, to  civilization  past  and  present,  and,  above  all,  hi.s  rela- 
tions to  God.  These  should  occupy  nearly,  if  not  fully,  half 
the  time  of  his  college  course.  In  connection  with  the  philoso- 
phy of  the  mind,  he  should  study  logic,  the  pure  mathematics, 
and  the  general  laws  of  thought.  In  connection  with  moral 
philosophy,  he  should  study  political  and  social  ethics,  a  science 
so  little  known  cither  in  colleges  or  congresses.  Prominent 
among  all  the  rest  should  be  his  study  of  the  wonderful  history 
of  the  human  race,  in  its  slow  and  toilsome  march  across  the 
centuries;  — now  buried  in  ignorance,  superstition,  and  crime; 
now  rising  to  the  sublimity  of  heroism,  and  catching  a  glimpse 
of  a  better  destiny;  now  turning  remorselessly  away  from,  and 
leaving  to  perish,  empires  and  civilizations  in  which  it  had  in- 
vested its  faith  and  courage  and  boundless  energy  for  a  thou- 
sand years,  and  plunging  into  the  forests  of  Germany,  Gaul,  and 
Britain,  to  build  for  itself  new  empires,  better  fitted  for  its  new 
aspirations;  and  at  last  crossing  three  thousand  miles  of  un- 
known sea,  anjd  building  in  the  wilderness  of  a  new  hemisphere 
its  latest  and  proudest  monuments.  To  know  this  as  it  ought 
to  be  known  requires  not  only  a  knowledge  of  general  history, 

VOL.  I.  18 


but  a  thorough  understanding  of  such  works  as  Guizot's  "  His- 
tory of  Civilization  "  and  Draper's  **  Intellectual  Development  of 
Europe,"  and  also  the  rich  literature  of  ancient  and  modern  na- 
tions. Of  course,  our  colleges  cannot  be  expected  to  lead  the 
student  through  all  the  paths  of  this  great  field  of  learning ;  but 
they  should  at  least  point  out  its  boundaries,  and  let  him  taste 
a  few  clusters  from  its  richest  vines. 

Finally,  in  rounding  up  the  measure  of  his  work,  the  student 
should  crown  his  education  with  that  aesthetic  culture  which 
will  unfold  to  him  the  delights  of  nature  and  art,  and  make  his 
mind  and  heart  a  fit  temple  where  the  immortal  spirit  of  Beauty 
may  dwell  forever.  While  acquiring  this  kind  of  knowledge, 
the  student  is  on  a  perpetual  voyage  of  discovery,  —  searching 
what  he  is  and  what  he  may  become,  how  he  is  related  to  the 
universe,  and  how  the  harmonies  of  the  outer  world  respond  to 
the  voice  within  him.  It  is  in  this  range  of  study  that  he  learns 
most  fully  his  own  tastes  and  aptitudes,  and  generally  deter- 
mines what  his  work  in  life  shall  be. 

The  last  item  in  the  classification  I  have  suggested,  that  spe- 
cial knowledge  which  is  necessary  to  fit  a  man  for  the  particular 
profession  or  calling  he  may  adopt,  I  cannot  discuss  here,  as  it 
lies  outside  the  field  of  general  education ;  but  I  will  make  one 
suggestion  to  the  young  gentlemen  before  mc  who  intend  to 
choose,  as  their  life-work,  some  one  of  the  learned  professions. 
You  will  commit  a  fatal  mistake  if  you  make  only  the  same 
preparations  which  your  predecessors  made  fifty,  or  even  ten 
years  ago.  Each  generation  must  have  a  higher  cultivation  than 
the  preceding  one,  in  order  to  be  equally  successful ;  and  each 
man  must  be  educated  for  his  own  times.  If  you  become  a 
lawyer,  you  must  remember  that  the  science  of  law  is  not. fixed, 
like  geometry,  but  is  a  growth  which  keeps  pace  with  the  pro- 
gress of  society.  The  developments  of  the  late  war  will  make 
it  necessary  to  rewrite  many  of  the  leading  chapters  of  irttcr- 
national  and  maritime  law.  The  destruction  of  slavery  and  the 
enfranchisement  of  four  millions  of  colored  men  will  almost  rev- 
olutionize American  jurisprudence.  If  Webster  were  now  at 
the  bar,  in  the  full  glory  of  his  strength,  he  would  be  compelled 
largely  to  reconstruct  the  fabric  of  his  legal  learning.  Similar 
changes  are  occurring  both  in  the  medical  and  military  profes- 
sions. Ten  years  hence  the  young  surgeon  will  hardly  venture 
to  open  an  ofiice  till  he  has  studied  thoroughly  the  medical  and 


surgical  history  of  the  late  war.  After  our  experience  at  Sum- 
ter and  Wagner,  no  nation  will  again  build  fortifications  of  costly 
masonry ;  for  they  have  learned  that  earthworks  are  not  only 
cheaper,  but  a  better  defence  against  artillery.  The  text-books 
on  military  engineering  must  be  rewritten.  Our  Spencer  rifle 
and  the  Prussian  needle-gun  have  revolutionized  both  the  man- 
ufacture of  arms  and  the  manual  of  arms ;  and  no  great  battle 
will  ever  again  be  fought  with  muzzle-loading  muskets.  Napo- 
leon, at  the  head  of  his  Old  Guard,  could  to-day  win  no  Auster- 
litz  till  he  had  read  the  military  history  of  the  last  six  years. 

It  may  perhaps  be  thought  that  the  suggestion  I  have  made 
concerning  the  professions  will  not  apply  to  the  work  of  the 
Christian  minister,  whose  principal  text-book  is  a  divine  and 
perfect  revelation ;  but,  in  my  judgment,  the  remark  applies  to 
the  clerical  profession  with  even  more  force  than  to  any  other. 
There  is  no  department  of  his  duties  in  which  he  does  not  need 
the  fullest  and  the  latest  knowledge.  He  is  pledged  to  the 
defence  of  revelation  and  religion ;  but  it  will  not  avail  him  to 
be  able  to  answer  the  objections  of  Hume  and  Voltaire.  The 
arguments  of  Paley  were  not  written  to  answer  the  scepticism 
of  to-day.  His  **  Natural  Theology  "  is  now  less  valuable  than 
Hugh  Miller's  "  Footprints  of  the  Creator,"  or  Guyot's  lectures 
on  **  Earth  and  Man."  The  men  and  women  of  to-day  know 
but  little,  and  care  less,  about  the  thousand  abstract  questions 
of  polemic  theology  which  puzzled  the  heads  and  wearied  the 
hearts  of  our  Puritan  fathers  and  mothers.  That  minister  will 
make,  and  deserves  to  make,  a  miserable  failure,  who  attempts 
to  feed  hungry  hearts  on  the  dead  dogmas  of  the  past.  More 
than  that  of  any  other  man  it  is  his  duty  to  march  abreast  of 
the  advanced  thinkers  of  his  time,  and  be,  not  only  a  learner,  but 
a  teacher  of  its  science,  its  literature,  and  its  criticism.  But  I 
return  to  the  main  question  before  me. 

Having  endeavored  to  state  what  kinds  of  knowledge  should 
be  the  objects  of  a  liberal  education,  I  shall  next  inquire  how 
well  the  course  of  study  in  American  colleges  is  adapted  to  the 
attainment  of  these  objects.  In  discussing  this  question,  I  do 
not  forget  that  he  is  deemed  a  rash  and  imprudent  man  who 
invades  with  suggestions  of  change  these  venerable  sanctuaries 
of  learning.  Let  him  venture  to  suggest  that  much  of  the  wis- 
dom there  taught  is  foolishness,  and  he  may  hear  from  the 
college  chapels  of  the  land,  in  good  Virgilian  hexameter,  the 


warning  cry,  "Procul,  O  procul  este,  profani !  "  Happy  for  him 
if  the  whole  body  of  alumni  do  not  with  equal  pedantry  re- 
spond in  Horatian  verse,  "  Fenum  habet  in  cornu ;  longe  fuge." 
But  I  protest  that  a  friend  of  American  education  may  suggest 
changes  in  our  college  studies  without  committing  profanation, 
or  carrying  hay  on  his  horns.  Our  colleges  have  done,  and  are 
doing,  a  noble  work,  for  which  they  deserve  the  thanks  of  the 
nation ;  but  he  is  not  their  enemy  who  suggests  that  they  ought 
to  do  much  better.  As  an  alumnus  of  one  which  I  shall  always 
reverence,  and  as  a  friend  of  all,  I  shall  venture  to  discuss  the 
work  they  are  doing. 

I  have  examined  the  catalogues  of  some  twenty  Eastern, 
Western,  and  Southern  colleges,  and  find  the  subjects  taught, 
and  the  relative  time  given  to  each,  about  the  same  in  all.  The 
chief  difference  is  in  the  quantity  of  work  required.  I  will  take 
Harvard  as  a  representative,  it  being  the  oldest  of  our  colleges, 
and  certainly  requiring  as  much  study  as  any  other.  Remem- 
bering that  the  standard  by  which  we  measure  a  student's 
work  for  one  day  is  three  recitations  of  one  hour  each,  and 
that  his  year  usually  consists  of  three  terms  of  thirteen  or 
fourteen  weeks  each,  for  convenience'  sake  I  will  divide  the 
work  required  to  admit  him  to  college,  and  after  four  years 
to  graduate  him,  into  two  classes:  first,  that  which  belongs 
to  the  study  of  Latin  and  Greek;  and,  second,  that  which 
docs  not. 

Now,  from  the  annual  Catalogue  of  Harvard  for  1866-67,  I 
find  that  the  candidate  for  admission  to  the  Freshman  class 
must  be  examined  in  eight  terms'  study  in  Latin,  six  in  Greek, 
one  in  ancient  geography,  one  in  Grecian  history,  and  one  in 
Roman  history,  which  make  seventeen  terms  in  the  studies  of 
the  first  class.  Under  the  second  class  the  candidate  is  required 
to  be  examined  in  reading,  in  common-school  arithmetic  and 
geography,  in  one  term's  study  of  algebra,  and  one  term  of 
geometry.  English  grammar  is  not  mentioned.  Thus,  after 
completing  the  elementary  branches  which  are  taught  in  all  our 
common  schools,  it  requires  about  two  years  and  a  half  of  study 
to  enter  the  college ;  and  of  that  study  seventeen  parts  are  de- 
voted to  the  language,  history,  and  geography  of  Greece  and 
Rome,  and  two  parts  to  all  other  subjects ! 

Reducing  the  Harvard  year  to  the  usual  division  of  three 
terms,  the  analysis  of  the  work  will  be  found  as  follows :   not 



less  than  nine  terms  of  Latin  (there  may  be  twelve  if  the  stu- 
dent chooses  it)  ;  not  less  than  six  terms  of  Greek  (but  twelve 
if  he  chooses  it)  ;  and  three  terms  of  Roman  history  if  the  stu- 
dent elects  it.  With  the  average  of  three  recitations  per  day, 
and  three  terms  per  year,  we  may  say  that  the  whole  work  of 
college  study  consists  of  thirty-six  parts.  Not  less  than  fifteen 
of  these  must  be  devoted  to  Latin  and  Greek,  and  not  more 
than  twenty-one  to  all  other  subjects.  If  the  student  chooses, 
he  may  devote  twenty-four  parts  to  Latin  and  Greek,  and  twelve 
to  all  other  subjects.  Taking  the  whole  six  and  a  half  years  of 
preparatory  and  college  study,  we  find  that,  to  earn  a  bachelor's 
diploma  at  Harvard,  a  young  man,  after  leaving  the  district 
school,  must  devote  four  sevenths  of  all  his  labor  to  Greece 
and  Rome. 

Now,  what  do  wc  find  in  our  second,  or  unclassical  list?  It 
is  chiefly  remarkable  for  what  it  does  not  contain.  In  the  whole 
programme  of  study,  lectures  included,  no  mention  whatever  is 
made  of  physical  geography,  of  anatomy,  physiology,  or  the 
general  history  of  the  United  States.  A  few  weeks  of  the  Sen- 
ior year  given  to  Guizot,  the  history  of  the  Federal  Constitu- 
tion, and  a  lecture  on  general  history  once  a  week  during  half 
that  year,  furnish  all  that  the  graduate  of  Harvard  is  required 
to  know  of  his  own  country,  and  the  living  nations  of  the  earth. 
He  must  apply  years  of  arduous  labor  to  the  history,  oratory, 
and  poetry  of  Greece  and  Rome ;  but  he  is  not  required  to  cull 
a  single  flower  from  the  rich  fields  of  our  own  literature.  Eng- 
lish literature  is  not  named  in  the  curriculum,  except  that  the 
student  may,  if  he  chooses,  attend  a  few  general  lectures  on 
modern  literature. 

Such  are  some  of  the  facts  in  reference  to  the  educational 
work  of  our  most  venerable  college,  where  there  is  probably 
concentrated  more  general  and  special  culture  than  at  any  other 
in  America.  I  think  it  probable,  that  in  some  of  the  colleges 
the  proportion  of  Latin  and  Greek  to  other  studies  may  be  less ; 
but  I  believe  that  in  none  of  them  is  the  preparatory  and  col- 
lege work  devoted  to  these  two  languages  less  than  half  of  all 
the  work  required.  Now,  the  bare  statement  of  this  fact  should 
challenge,  and  must  challenge,  the  attention  of  every  thoughtful 
man  in  the  nation.  No  wonder  that  men  are  demanding,  with 
an  earnestness  that  will  not  be  repressed,  to  know  how  it  hap- 
pens, and  why  it  happens,  that,  placing  in  one  end  of  the  balance 


all  the  mathematical  studies,  all  the  physical  sciences  in  their  re- 
cent rapid  developments,  all  the  study  of  the  human  mind  and  the 
laws  of  thought,  all  the  principles  of  political  economy  and  social 
science  which  underlie  the  commerce  and  industry,  and  shape 
the  legislation  of  nations,  the  history  of  our  own  nation,  its  con- 
stitution of  government,  and  its  great  industrial  interests,  all  the 
literature  and  history  of  modern  civilization,  — placing  all  this, 
I  say,  in  one  end  of  the  balance,  they  kick  the  beam  when 
Greece  and  Rome  are  placed  in  the  other.  I  hasten  to  say  that 
I  make  no  attack  upon  the  study  of  these  noble  languages  as 
an  important  and  necessary  part  of  a  liberal  education.  I  have 
no  sympathy  with  that  sentiment  which  would  drive  them  from 
academy  and  college,  as  a  part  of  the  dead  past  that  should 
bury  its  dead.  It  is  Xki^  proportion  of  the  work  given  to  them  of 
which  I  complain. 

These  studies  hold  their  relative  rank  in  obedience  to  the 
tyranny  of  custom.  Each  new  college  is  modelled  after  the 
older  ones,  and  all  the  American  colleges  have  been  patterned 
on  an  humble  scale  after  the  universities  of  England.  The 
prominence  given  to  Latin  and  Greek  at  the  founding  of  these 
universities  was  a  matter  of  inexorable  necessity.  The  continu- 
ance of  the  same,  or  an>^vhcre  near  the  same,  relative  promi- 
nence to-day,  is  both  unnecessary  and  indefensible.  I  appeal  to 
history  for  the  proof  of  these  assertions. 

From  the  close  of  the  fifth  century  we  date  the  beginning  of 
those  dark  ages  which  enveloped  the  whole  world  for  a  thou- 
sand years.  The  human  race  seemed  stricken  with  intellectual 
paralysis.  The  noble  language  of  the  Caesars,  corrupted  by  a 
hundred  barbarous  dialects,  ceased  to  be  a  living  tongue  long 
before  the  modern  languages  of  Europe  had  been  reduced  to 
writing.  In  Italy  the  Latin  died  in  the  tenth  century;  but  the 
oldest  document  known  to  exist  in  Italian  was  not  written  till 
the  year  1200.  Italian  did  not  really  take  its  place  in  the  family 
of  written  languages  till  a  century  later,  when  it  was  crystallized 
into  form  and  made  immortal  by  the  genius  of  Dante  and  Pe- 
trarch. The  Spanish  was  not  a  written  language  till  the  year 
1200,  and  was  scarcely  known  to  Europe  till  Cervantes  con- 
vulsed the  world  with  laughter  in  1605.  The  Latin  ceased  to 
be  spoken  by  the  people  of  France  in  the  tenth  century,  and 
French  was  not  a  written  language  till  the  beginning  of  the 
fourteenth  century.      Pascal,  who  died   in    1662,  is  called  the 


father  of  modern  French  prose.  The  German,  as  a  literary 
language,  dates  from  Luther,  who  died  in  1546.  It  was  one  of 
his  mortal  sins  against  Rome,  that  he  translated  the  Bible  into 
the  uncouth  and  vulgar  tongue  of  Germany. 

Our  own  language  is  also  of  recent  origin.  Richard  I.  of 
England,  who  died  in  1199,  never  spoke  a  word  of  English  in 
his  life.  Our  mother  tongue  was  never  heard  in  an  English 
court  of  justice  till  1362.  The  statutes  of  England  were  not 
written  in  English  till  three  years  before  Columbus  landed  in 
the  New  World.  No  philologist  dates  modern  English  farther 
back  than  1500.  Sir  Thomas  More,  the  author  of  **  Utopia," 
who  died  in  1535,  was  the  father  of  English  prose. 

The  dark  ages  were  the  sleep  of  the  world,  while  the  lan- 
guages of  the  modern  world  were  being  born  out  of  chaos. 
The  first  glimmer  of  dawn  was  in  the  tA\'elfth  century,  when 
in  Paris,  Oxford,  and  other  parts  of  Europe,  universities  were 
established.  The  fifteenth  century  was  spent  in  saving  the  rem- 
nants of  classic  learning  which  had  been  locked  up  in  the  cells 
of  monks,  —  the  Greek  at  Constantinople,  and  the  Latin  in  the 
cloisters  of  Western  Europe. 

During  the  first  three  hundred  years  of  the  life  of  the  older 
universities,  it  is  almost  literally  true,  that  no  modern  tongue 
had  become  a  written  language.  The  learning  of  Europe  was 
in  Latin  and  Greek.  In  order  to  study  either  science  or  litera- 
ture, these  languages  must  first  be  learned.  European  writers 
continued  to  use  Latin  long  after  the  modern  languages  were 
fully  established.  Even  Milton's  great  "  Defence  of  the  People 
of  England,"  which  appeared  in  165 1,  was  written  in  Latin,  —  as 
were  also  the  **  Principia,"  and  other  scientific  works  of  New- 
ton, who  died  in  1727.  The  pride  of  learned  corporations,  the 
spirit  of  exclusivencss  among  learned  men,  and  their  want  of 
sympathy  with  the  mass  of  the  people,  united  to  maintain  Latin 
as  the  language  of  learning  long  after  its  use  ceased  to  be  de- 

Now,  mark  the  contrast  between  the  objects  and  demands  of 
education  when  the  European  universities  were  founded,  —  or 
even  when  Har\'ard  was  founded,  —  and  its  demands  at  the 
present  time.  We  have  a  family  of  modern  languages  almost 
equal  in  force  and  perfection  to  the  classic  tongues,  and  a 
modern  literature,  which,  if  less  perfect  than  the  ancient  in  aes- 
thetic form,  is  immeasurably  richer  in  truth,  and  is  filled  with 


the  noblest  and  bravest  thoughts  of  the  world.  When  the  uni- 
versities were  founded,  modern  science  had  not  been  born. 
Scarcely  a  generation  has  passed  since  then,  without  adding 
some  new  science  to  the  circle  of  knowledge.  As  late  as  1809, 
the  Edinburgh  Review  declared  that  **  lectures  upon  political 
economy  would  be  discouraged  in  Oxford,  probably  despised, 
probably  not  permitted."  At  a  much  later  date,  there  was  no 
text-book  in  the  United  States  on  that  subject.  The  claims  of 
Latin  and  Greek  to  the  chief  place  in  the  curriculum  have  been 
gradually  growing  less,  and  the  importance  of  other  knowledge 
has  been  constantly  increasing ;  but  the  colleges  have  generally 
opposed  all  innovations,'  and  still  cling  to  the  old  ways  with 
stubborn  conservatism.  Some  concessions,  however,  have  been 
made  to  the  necessities  of  the  times,  both  in  Europe  and  Amer- 
ica. Harvard  would  hardly  venture  to  enforce  its  law  (which 
prevailed  long  after  Cotton  Mather's  day)  forbidding  its  students 
to  speak  English  within  the  college  limits,  under  any  pretext 
whatever ;  and  British  Cantabs  have  had  their  task  of  compos- 
ing hexameters  in  bad  Latin  reduced  by  a  few  thousand  verses 
during  the  last  century. 

It  costs  me  a  struggle  to  say  anything  on  this  subject  which 
may  be  regarded  with  favor  by  those  who  would  reject  the 
classics  altogether,  for  I  have  read  them  and  taught  them  with 
a  pleasure  and  relish  which  few  other  pursuits  have  ever  afford- 
ed me;  but  I  am  persuaded  that  their  supporters  must  soon 
submit  to  a  readjustment  of  their  relations  to  college  study,  or 
they  may  be  driven  from  the  course  altogether.  There  are  most 
weighty  reasons  why  Latin  and  Greek  should  be  retained  as 
part  of  a  liberal  education.  He  who  would  study  our  own  lan- 
guage profoundly  must  not  forget  that  nearly  thirty  per  cent 
of  its  words  are  of  Latin  origin,  —  that  the  study  of  Latin  is  the 
study  of  universal  grammar,  —  that  it  renders  the  acquisition  of 
any  modern  language  an  easy  task,  and  is  indispensable  to 
the  teacher  of  language  and  literature,  and  to  other  profes- 
sional men.  Greek  is,  perhaps,  the  most  perfect  instrument  of 
thought  ever  invented  by  man,  and  its  literature  has  never  been 
equalled  in  purity  of  style  and  boldness  of  expression.  As  a 
means  of  intellectual  discipline,  its  value  can  hardly  be  over- 
estimated. To  take  a  long  and  complicated  sentence  in  Greek, 
to  study  each  word  in  its  meanings,  inflections,  and  relations, 
and  to  build  up  in  the  mind,  out  of  these  polished  materials,  a 


sentence  perfect  as  a  temple,  and  filled  with  Greek  thought 
which  has  dwelt  there  two  thousand  years,  is  almost  an  act 
of  creation :  it  calls  into  activity  all  the  faculties  of  the  mind. 
That  the  Christian  oracles  have  come  down  to  us  in  Greek, 
will  make  Greek  scholars  forever  a  necessity. 

These  studies,  then,  should  not  be  neglected:  they  should 
neither  devour  nor  be  devoured.  I  insist  they  can  be  made 
more  valuable,  and  at  the  same  time  less  prominent,  than  they 
now  are.  A  large  part  of  the  labor  now  bestowed  upon  them 
is  not  devoted  to  learning  the  genius  and  spirit  of  the  lan- 
guage, but  is  more  than  wasted  on  pedantic  trifles.  In  1809 
Sydney  Smith  lashed  this  trifling  as  it  deserves  in  the  Edin- 
burgh Review.     Speaking  of  classical  Englishmen,  he  says :  — 

"Their  minds  have  been  so  completely  possessed  by  exaggerated 
notions  of  classical  learning,  that  they  have  not  been  able,  in  the  great 
school  of  the  world,  to  form  any  other  notion  of  real  greatness.  Attend, 
too,  to  the  public  feelings ;  look  to  all  the  terms  of  applause.  A  learned 
man  !  a  scholar  !  a  man  of  erudition  !  Upon  whom  are  these  epithets 
of  approbation  bestowed  ?  Are  they  given  to  men  acquainted  with  the 
science  of  government,  thoroughly  masters  of  the  geographical  and  com- 
mercial relations  of  Europe  ?  to  men  who  know  the  properties  of  bodies 
and  their  action  upon  each  other  ?  No  :  this  is  not  learning ;  it  is  chem- 
istry, or  political  economy,  not  learning.  The  distinguishing  abstract 
term,  the  epithet  of  scholar,  is  reserved  for  him  who  writes  on  the  -^olic 
reduplication,  and  is  familiar  with  the  Sylburgian  method  of  arranging 

defectives  in  w  and  /xi His  object  [the  young  Englishman's]  is 

not  to  reason,  to  imagine,  or  to  invent,  but  to  conjugate,  decline,  and 
derive.  The  situations  of  imaginary  glory  which  he  draws  for  himself 
are  the  detection  of  an  anapest  in  the  wrong  place,  or  the  restoration  of 
a  dative  case  which  Cranzius  had  passed  over  and  the  never-dying  Er- 
nesti  failed  to  observe.  If  a  young  classic  of  this  kind  were  to  meet  the 
greatest  chemist,  or  the  greatest  mechanician,  or  the  most  profound  po- 
litical economist  of  his  time,  in  company  with  the  greatest  Greek  scholar, 
would  the  slightest  comparison  between  them  ever  come  across  his  mind  ? 
Would  he  ever  dream  that  such  men  as  Adam  Smith  and  Lavoisier  were 
equal  in  dignity  of  understanding  to,  or  of  the  same  utility  as,  Bentley  or 
Heyne?  We  are  inclined  to  think  that  the  feeling  excited  would  be 
a  good  deal  like  that  which  was  expressed  by  Dr.  George  about  the 
praises  of  the  great  king  of  Prussia,  who  entertained  considerable  doubts 
whether  the  king,  with  all  his  victories,  knew  how  to  conjugate  a  Greek 
verb  in  /ai."  ^ 

1  The  Works  of  the  Rev.  Sydney  Smith,  (Boston,  1856,)  p.  75. 


He  concludes  another  article,^  written  in  1826,  with  these 
words :  "  If  there  is  anything  which  fills  reflecting  men  with 
melancholy  and  regret,  it  is  the  waste  of  mortal  time,  parental 
money,  and  puerile  happiness,  in  the  present  method  of  pur- 
suing Latin  and  Greek." 

To  write  verse  in  these  languages ;  to  study  elaborate  theories 
of  the  Greek  accent,  and  the  ancient  pronunciation  of  both 
Greek  and  Latin,  which  no  one  can  ever  know  he  has  discov- 
ered, and  which  would  be  utterly  valueless  if  he  did  discover 
it;    to  toil  over   the  innumerable  exceptions   to  the  arbitrary 
rules  of  poetic  quantity,  which  few  succeed   in  learning,  and 
none  remember,  —  these,  and  a  thousand  other  similar  things 
which  crowd  the  pages  of  Zumpt  and  Kiihner,  no  more  con- 
stitute a  knowledge  of  the  spirit  and  genius  of  the  Greek  and 
Latin  languages,  than  counting  the  number  of  threads  to  the 
square  inch  in  a  man's  coat  and  the  number  of  pegs  in  his 
boots    makes  us    acquainted   with  his    moral    and    intellectual 
character.     The  greatest  literary  monuments  of  Greece  existed 
hundreds  of  years   before  the  science  of  grammar  was  born. 
Plato  and  Thucydides  had  a  tolerable   acquaintance  with  the 
Greek  language ;  but  Crosby  goes  far  beyond  their  depth.    Our 
colleges  should  require  a  student  to  understand  thoroughly  the 
structure,  idioms,  and  spirit  of  these  languages,  and  to  be  able, 
by  the  aid  of  a  lexicon,  to  analyze  and  translate   them  with 
readiness  and  elegance.     They  should  give  him  the  key  to  the 
storehouse  of  ancient  literature,  that  he  may  explore  its  treas- 
ures for  himself  in  after  life.     This  can  be  done  in  two  years 
less  than  the  usual  time,  and  nearly  as  well  as  it  is  done  now. 

I  am  glad  to  inform  you,  young  gentlemen,  that  the  trustees 
of  this  institution  have  this  day  resolved  that,  in  the  course  of 
study  to  be  pursued  here,  Latin  and  Greek  shall  not  be  rc- 
quircd  after  the  Freshman  year.  They  must  be  studied  the 
usual  time  as  a  requisite  to  admission,  and  they  may  be  car- 
ried farther  than  the  Freshman  year  as  elective  studies;  but  in 
the  regular  course  their  places  will  be  supplied  by  some  of 
the  studies  I  have  already  mentioned.  Three  or  four  terms  in 
general  literature  will  teach  you  that  the  republic  of  letters  is 
larger  than  Greece  or  Rome. 

The  board  of  trustees  have  been  strengthened  in  the  position 
they  have  taken,  by  the  fact  that  a  similar  course  for  the  future 

*  Hamilton's  Method  of  Teaching  Languages. 


has  recently  been  announced  by  the  authorities  of  Harvard  Col- 
lege. Within  the  last  six  days,  I  have  received  a  circular  from 
the  secretary  of  that  venerable  college,  which  announces  that 
two  thirds  of  the  Latin  and  Greek  are  hereafter  to  be  stricken 
from  the  list  of  required  studies  of  the  college  course.  I  rejoice 
that  the  movement  has  begun.  Other  colleges  must  follow  the 
example ;  and  the  day  will  not  be  far  distant  when  it  shall  be 
the  pride  of  a  scholar  that  he  is  also  a  worker,  and  when  the 
worker  shall  not  refuse  to  become  a  scholar  because  he  despises 
a  trifler. 

I  congratulate  you  that  this  change  does  not  reduce  the 
amount  of  labor  required  of  you.  If  it  did,  I  should  deplore  it. 
I  beseech  you  to  remember  that  the  genius  of  success  is  still 
the  genius  of  the  lamp.  If  hard  work  is  not  another  name  for 
talent,  it  is  the  best  possible  substitute  for  it.  In  the  long  run, 
the  chief  difference  in  men  will  be  found  in  the  amount  of  work 
they  do.  Do  not  trust  to  what  lazy  men  call  the  spur  of  the 
occasion.  If  you  wish  to  wear  spurs  in  the  tournament  of  life, 
you  must  buckle  them  to  your  own  heels  before  you  enter  the 

Men  look  with  admiring  wonder  upon  a  great  intellectual 
effort,  like  VV^ebster's  reply  to  Hayne,  and  seem  to  think  that  it 
leaped  into  life  by  the  inspiration  of  the  moment.  But  if  by 
some  intellectual  chemistry  we  could  resolve  that  masterly 
speech  into  its  several  elements  of  power,  and  trace  each  to 
its  source,  we  should  find  that  every  constituent  force  had  been 
elaborated  twenty  years  before,  —  it  may  be,  in  some  hour  of 
earnest  intellectual  labor.  Occasion  may  be  the  bugle-call  that 
summons  an  army  to  battle ;  but  the  blast  of  a  bugle  can  never 
make  soldiers,  or  win  victories. 

And  finally,  young  gentlemen,  learn  to  cultivate  a  wise  re- 
liance, based  not  on  what  you  hope,  but  on  what  you  perform. 
It  has  long  been  the  habit  of  this  institution,  if  I  may  so  speak, 
to  throw  young  men  overboard,  and  let  them  sink  or  swim. 
None  have  yet  drowned  who  were  worth  the  saving.  I  hope 
the  practice  will  be  continued,  and  that  you  will  not  rely  upon 
outside  help  for  growth  or  success.  Give  crutches  to  cripples; 
but  go  you  forth  with  brave,  true  hearts,  knowing  that  fortune 
dwells  in  your  brain  and  muscle,  and  that  labor  is  the  only 
human  symbol  of  Omnipotence. 

— — 



May  is,  1868. 

What  was  the  original  view  of  the  Legal  Tender  Act  and  the  suspen- 
sion of  specie  payments,  was  pointed  out  in  the  introduction  to  the 
speech  of  March  16,  1866.  That  this  view  was  still  the  current  one  at 
the  close  of  the  war,  is  shown  by  the  fact  that  the  House  of  Representa- 
tives, by  a  vote  of  144  to  6,  adopted  the  resolution  of  Dec.  18,  1865, 
quoted  in  this  speech.^  A  further  test  of  the  same  kind  is  found  in 
the  act  of  April  12,  1866,  which  gave  the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury 
power  to  call  in  and  cancel  legal-tender  notes,  ten  millions  of  dollars  the 
first  six  months,  and  after  that  at  the  rate  of  four  millions  per  month. 
But  even  at  that  time  the  effect  of  an  inflated  currency,  and  of  ihe 
general  use  of  unredeemed  promises  as  money,  could  be  seen  in  many 
ways.  The  public  intelligence  was  becoming  darkened,  and  the  public 
conscience  hardened.  Henceforth  for  several  years  a  settled  and  deter- 
mined popular  movement  in  the  direction  of  inflation  can  be  traced. 
Congress  responded  to  popular  opinion  by  enacting,  January  23,  1868, 
"  That  from  and  after  the  passage  of  this  act  the  authority  of  the 
Secretary  of  the  Treasury  to  make  any  reduction  of  the  currency,  by 
retiring  or  cancelling  United  States  notes,  shall  be  and  is  hereby  sus- 
pended." Since  the  passage  of  the  act  of  April  12,  1866,  the  Secretary 
of  the  Treasury  had  retired  $44,000,000  of  greenbacks.  The  act  of 
1868  took  from  him  the  power  further  to  contract  the  currency,  and 
indefinitely  postponed  the  return  to  specie  payments.  The  proposition 
to  pay  the  five-twenty  bonds  in  legal-tender  notes  had  already  been  sub- 
mitted to  the  public,  and  received  with  much  favor.  These  extreme 
financial  doctrines  were  advocated  upon  the  floor  of  Congress.  Day  by 
day,  the  tide  of  folly  and  dishonor  rose  higher  and  higher.  Hence,  as 
an  attempt  to  check  its  higher  rise,  if  possible  to  turn  it  back,  Mr. 
Garfield  prepared  and  delivered  the  following  speech.  As  the  House 
was  in  Committee  of  the  Whole  on  the  state  of  the  Union,  he  was  able 

'  See  also  note  to  speech  of  March  16, 1866,  ante^  p.  200. 


to  handle  his  subject  in  the  broadest  way,  and  was  not  required  to 
deal  with  any  particular  measure.  Accordingly,  this  is  one  of  the  most 
expository  of  all  his  financial  speeches,  and  comes  nearer,  perhaps,  to 
being  a  sound-money  manual,  than  any  other  speech  of  his  life.* 

'*  I  cannot  but  lament  from  my  inmost  soul  that  lust  for  paper  money  which  appears  in  some 
parts  of  the  United  States ;  there  will  never  be  any  uniform  rule,  if  there  is  any  sense  of  justice, 
nor  any  clear  credit,  public  or  private,  nor  any  settled  confidence  in  public  men  or  measures, 
until  paper  money  is  done  away."  — John  Adams. 

MR.  CHAIRMAN,  —  I  am  aware  that  financial  subjects  are 
dull  and  uninviting  in  comparison  with  those  heroic 
themes  which  have  absorbed  the  attention  of  Congress  for  the 
last  five  years.  To  turn  from  the  consideration  of  armies  and 
navies,  victories  and  defeats,  to  the  long  array  of  figures  which 
exhibit  the  debt,  expenditure,  taxation,  and  industry  of  the 
nation,  requires  no  little  courage  and  self-denial ;  but  to  those 
questions  we  must  come,  and  to  their  solution  Congresses,  politi- 
cal parties,  and  all  thoughtful  citizens  must  give  their  best  efforts 
for  many  years  to  come.  Our  public  debt,  the  greatest  financial 
fact  of  this  century,  stands  in  the  pathway  of  all  political  parties, 
and,  like  the  Theban  Sphinx,  propounds  its  riddles.  All  the 
questions  which  spring  out  of  the  public  debt,  —  such  as  loans, 
bonds,  tariffs,  internal  taxation,  banking,  and  currency,  —  pre- 
sent greater  difficulties  than  usually  come  within  the  scope  of 
American  politics.  They  cannot  be  settled  by  force  of  numbers, 
nor  carried  by  assault,  as  an  army  storms  the  works  of  an  enemy. 
Patient  examination  of  facts,  careful  study  of  principles  which 
do  not  always  appear  on  the  surface,  and  which  involve  the  most 
difficult  problems  of  political  economy,  are  the  weapons  of  this 
warfare.  No  sentiment  of  national  pride  should  make  us  un- 
mindful of  the  fact  that  we  have  less  experience  in  this  direction 
than  any  other  civilized  nation.  If  this  fact  is  not  creditable  to 
our  intellectual  reputation,  it  at  least  affords  a  proof  that  our 
people  have  not  hitherto  been  crushed  under  the  burdens  of 
taxation.     We  must  consent  to  be  instructed  by  the  experience 

^  It  is  proper  to  say  that  copies  of  this  speech  were  sent  to  Europe  by  the  Sec- 
retary of  the  Treasury,  who  hoped  it  might  have  a  favorable  effect  upon  American 
credit  abroid.  Some  of  these  copies  came  into  the  hands  of  influential  members 
of  the  Cobden  Club,  London,  and  led  at  once  to  Mr.  Garfield's  election  to  its 
honorary  membership. 


of  other  nations,  and  be  willing  to  approach  these  questions,  not 
with  the  dogmatism  of  teachers,  but  as  seekers  after  truth. 

It  is  evident  that,  both  in  Congress  and  among  the  people, 
there  is  great  diversity  of  opinion  on  all  these  themes.  He  is 
indeed  a  bold  man  who,  at  this  time,  claims  to  have  mastered 
any  one  of  them,  or  reached  conclusions  on  all  its  features  satis- 
factory even  to  himself.  For  myself;  I  claim  only  to  have  studied 
earnestly  to  know  what  the  best  interests  of  the  country  demand 
at  the  hands  of  Congress.  I  have  listened  with  great  respect  to 
the  opinions  of  those  with  whom  I  differ  most,  and  only  ask  for 
myself  what  I  award  to  all  others,  a  patient  hearing. 

The  past  six  months  have  been  remarkable  for  unparalleled 
distress  in  the  commercial  and  industrial  interests  of  half  the 
civilized  world.  In  Great  Britain  the  distress  among  the  labor- 
ing classes  is  more  terrible  than  the  people  of  those  islands  have 
suffered  for  a  quarter  of  a  century.  From  every  city,  town,  and 
village  in  the  kingdom  the  cry  of  distress  comes  up  through 
every  issue  of  the  press.  The  London  Times  of  December  1 1 
says :  "  Last  winter  the  demands  on  the  public  were  unprece- 
dented. The  amount  of  money  given  to  the  poor  of  London 
beyond  that  disbursed  in  legal  relief  of  the  poor  was  almost 
incredible.  It  seemed  the  demand  had  reached  its  high- 
est point ;  but  if  we  arc  not  mistaken,  the  exigencies  of  the 
present  season  will  surpass  those  of  any  former  year  in  British 
history."  The  London  Star,  of  a  still  later  date,  says :  "  Men 
and  women  die  in  our  streets  every  day  of  starvation.  Whole 
districts  are  sinking  into  one  vast,  squalid,  awful  condition  of 
helpless,  hopeless  destitution." 

From  many  parts  of  Continental  Europe  there  comes  a  simi- 
lar cry.  A  few  weeks  since,  the  Secretary  of  State  laid  before 
this  body  a  letter  from  the  American  Minister  at  Copenhagen, 
appealing  to  this  country  for  contributions  for  the  relief  of  the 
suffering  poor  of  Sweden  and  Norway.  A  late  Berlin  paper 
says,  "  Business  is  at  a  stand-still,  and  privation  and  suffering 
are  everywhere  seen."  The  inhabitants  of  Eastern  Prussia  are 
appealing  to  the  German  citizens  of  the  United  States  for  imme- 
diate relief.  In  Russia  the  horrors  of  pestilence  are  added  to 
the  sufferings  of  famine.  In  Finland  the  peasants  are  dying  of 
starvation  by  hundreds.  In  some  parts  of  France  and  Spain 
the  scarcity  is  very  great.  In  Northern  Africa  the  suffering 
is  still   greater.     In  Algiers   the   deaths  by  starvation  are   so 


numerous  that  the  victims  are  buried  in  trenches  like  the  slain 
on  a  battle-field.  In  Tunis  eigjit  thousand  have  thus  perished 
in  two  months.  The  United  States  Consul  at  that  place  writes 
that  on  the  27th  of  December  two  hundred  people  starved  to 
death  in  the  streets  of  that  city,  and  the  average  daily  deaths 
from  starvation  exceed  one  hundred. 

Our  sadness  at  the  contemplation  of  this  picture  is  mingled 
with  indignation,  when  we  reflect  that  at  the  present  moment, 
in  the  eight  principal  nations  of  Europe,  there  are  three  million 
men  under  arms  at  an  annual  cost  of  nearly  a  thousand  million 
dollars,  —  an  expense  which  in  twenty  years  would  pay  every 
national  debt  in  Christendom.  And  this  only  the  peace  estab- 
lishment! While  Napoleon  is  feeding  fifty  thousand  starving 
Frenchmen  daily  from  the  soup  kitchens  of  the  imperial  palace, 
he  is  compelling  the  French  legislature  to  double  his  army. 
Whatever  distress  our  people  may  be  suffering,  they  have  reason 
to  be  thankful  that  the  bloody  monster  called  the  "balance  of 
power"  has  never  cast  its  shadow  upon  our  country.  We  have 
reason,  indeed,  to  be  thankful  that  our  people  are  suffering  less 
than  the  people  of  any  other  nation.  But  the  distress  here  is 
unusual  for  us.  It  is  seen  in  the  depression  of  business,  the 
stagnation  of  trade,  the  high  price  of  provisions,  and  the  great 
difficulty  which  laboring  men  encounter  in  finding  employment. 
It  is  said  that  during  the  past  winter  seventy-five  thousand 
laborers  in  New  York  City  have  been  unable  to  find  employ- 
ment The  whole  industry  of  the  States  lately  in  rebellion  is 
paralyzed,  and  in  many  localities  the  cry  of  hunger  is  heard. 
It  is  the  imperative  duty  of  Congress  to  ascertain  the  cause 
of  this  derangement  of  our  industrial  forces,  and  apply  whatever 
remedy  legislation  can  afford.  The  field  is  a  broad  one,  the 
subject  is  many-sided ;  but  our  first  step  should  be  to  ascertain 
the  facts  of  our  situation. 

I  shall  direct  my  remarks  on  this  occasion  to  but  one  fea- 
ture of  our  legislation.  I  propose  to  discuss  the  currency, 
and  its  relation  to  the  revenue  and  business  prosperity  of  the 

In  April,  1861,  there  began  in  this  country  an  industrial 
revolution,  not  yet  completed,  as  gigantic  in  its  proportions 
and  as  far-reaching  in  its  consequences  as  the  political  and 
military  revolution  through  which  we  have  passed.  As  the 
first  step   to  any   intelligent   discussion  of  the  currency,  it  is 


necessary  to  examine  the  character  and  progress  of  that  indus- 
trial revolution.  ^ 

The  year  i860  was  one  of  remarkable  prosperity  in  all 
branches  ot  business.  For  seventy  years  no  Federal  tax- 
gatherer  had  been  seen  among  the  laboring  population  of  the 
United  States.  Our  public  debt  was  less  than  sixty-five  million 
dollars.  The  annual  expenditures  of  the  government,  including 
interest  on  the  public  debt,  were  less  than  sixty-four  million 
dollars.  The  revenues  from  customs  alone  amounted  to  six 
sevenths  of  the  expenditures.  The  value  of  our  agricultural 
products  for  that  year  amounted  to  $i,625,ocx),ooo.  Our  cotton 
crop  alone  was  2,155,000,000  pounds,  and  we  supplied  to  the 
markets  of  the  world  seven  eighths  of  all  the  cotton  consumed. 
Our  merchant  marine,  engaged  in  foreign  trade,  amounted 
to  2,546,237  tons,  and  promised  soon  to  rival  the  immense 
carrying  trade  of  England. 

Let  us  now  observe  the  effect  of  the  war  on  the  various 
departments  of  business.  From  the  moment  the  first  hostile 
gun  was  fired,  the  Federal  and  State  governments  became  gi- 
gantic consumers.  As  far  as  production  was  concerned,  eleven 
States  were  completely  separated  from  the  Union.  Two  mil- 
lion laborers  —  more  than  one  third  of  the  adult  population  of 
the  Northern  States  —  were  withdrawn  from  the  ranks  of  pro- 
ducers, and  became  only  consumers  of  wealth.  The  Federal 
governrtient  became  an  insatiable  devourer.  Leaving  out  of 
account  the  vast  sums  expended  by  States,  counties,  cities, 
towns,  and  individuals  for  the  payment  of  bounties,  for  the 
relief  of  sick  and  wounded  soldiers  and  their  families,  and 
omitting  the  losses  —  which  can  never  be  estimated  —  of  prop- 
erty destroyed  by  hostile  armies,  I  shall  speak  only  of  ex- 
penditures which  appear  on  the  books  of  the  Federal  Treasury. 
From  the  30th  of  June,  1 861,  to  the  30th  of  June,  1865,  there 
were  paid  out  of  the  Federal  treasury  $3,340,996,21 1,  making 
an  average  for  these  four  years  of  more  than  $836,000,000  per 

From  the  official  records  of  the  Treasury  Department  it 
appears  that,  from  the  beginning  of  the  American  Revolution 
in  1775  to  the  beginning  of  the  late  rebellion,  the  total  ex- 
penditures of  the  government  for  all  purposes,  including  the 
Assumed  war  debts  of  the  States,  amounted  to  $2,250,000,000. 
The  expenditures  of  four   years  of  the  rebellion  were  nearly 


$i,ioo,ocx>,(XX)  more  than  all  the  Federal  expenses  since  the 
Declaration  of  Independence.  The  debt  of  England,  which 
had  its  origin  in  the  Revolution  of  1688,  and  was  increased  by 
more  than  one  hundred  years  of  war  and  other  political  disas- 
ters, had  reached  in  1793  the  sum  of  $1,268,000,000.  During 
the  twenty-two  years  that  followed,  while  England  was  engaged 
in  a  life  and  death  struggle  with  Napoleon,  $3,056,000,000  was 
added  to  her  debt.  In  four  years  we  spent  $300,000,000  more 
than  the  amount  by  which  England  increased  her  debt  in  twenty- 
two  years  of  war,  —  almost  as  much  as  she  had  increased  it  in 
one  hundred  and  twenty-five  years  of  war.  Now,  the  enormous 
demand  which  this  expenditure  created  for  all  the  products  of 
industry  stimulated  to  an  unparalleled  degree  every  depart- 
ment of  business.  Plough,  furnace,  mill,  loom,  railroad,  steam- 
boat, telegraph,  —  all  were  driven  to  their  utmost  capacity. 
Warehouses  were  emptied;  and  the  great  reserves  of  supply, 
which  all  nations  in  a  normal  state  keep  on  hand,  were  ex- 
hausted to  meet  the  demands  of  the  great  consumer.  For  many 
months  the  government  swallowed  three  millions  per  day  of  the 
products  of  industry.  Under  the  pressure  of  this  demand,  prices 
rose  rapidly  in  every  department  of  business.  Labor  everywhere 
found  quick  and  abundant  returns.  Old  debts  were  cancelled, 
and  great  fortunes  were  made. 

For  the  transaction  of  this  enormous  business  an  increased 
amount  of  currency  was  needed ;  but  I  doubt  if  any  member 
of  this  House  can  be  found  bold  enough  to  deny  that  the 
deluge  of  treasury  notes  poured  upon  the  country  during  the 
war  was  far  greater  than  even  the  great  demands  of  business. 
Let  it  not  be  forgotten,  however,  that  the  chief  object  of  these 
issues  was  not  to  increase  the  currency  of  the  country.  They 
were  authorized  with  great  reluctance  and  under  the  pressure 
of  ovenvhelming  necessity,  as  a  temporary  expedient  to  meet 
the  demands  of  the  treasury.  They  were  really  forced  loans 
in  the  form  of  treasury  notes.  By  the  act  of  July  17,  1861, 
an  issue  of  demand  notes  was  authorized  to  the  amount  of 
$50,000,000.  By  the  act  of  August  5,  1861,  this  amount  was 
increased  $50,000,000  more.  By  the  act  of  February  25,  1862, 
an  additional  issue  of  $150,000,000  was  authorized.  On  the 
17th  of  the  same  month  an  unlimited  issue  of  fractional  cur- 
rency was  authorized.     On  the   17th  of  January,  1863,  an  issue 

of  $150,000,000   more  was    authorized,   which   was    increased 
voL.»i.  19 



$50,ocx),(XX)  by  the  act  of  March  3  of  the  same  year.  This 
act  also  authorized  the  issue  of  one  and  two  years'  Treasury 
notes,  bearing  interest  at  five  per  cent,  to  be  a  legal  tender  for 
their  face,  to  the  amount  of  $400,ocx),ooo.  By  the  act  of  June 
30,  1864,  an  issue  of  six  per  cent  compound-interest  notes,  to 
be  a  legal  tender  for  their  face,  was  authorized,  to  the  amount 
of  $200,000,000.  In  addition  to  this,  many  other  forms  of 
paper  obligation  were  authorized,  which,  though  not  a  legal 
tender,  performed  many  of  the  functions  of  currency.  By  the 
act  of  March  i,  1862,  the  issue  of  an  unlimited  amount  of  cer- 
tificates of  indebtedness  was  authorized,  and  within  ninety  days 
after  the  passage  of  the  act,  there  had  been  issued  and  were 
outstanding  of  these  certificates  more  than  $156,000,000.  Of 
course  these  issues  were  not  all  outstanding  at  the  same  time, 
but  the  acts  show  how  great  was  the  necessity  for  loans  during 
the  war. 

The  law  which  made  the  vast  volume  of  United  States  notes 
a  legal  tender  operated  as  an  act  of  general  bankruptcy.  The 
man  who  loaned  $1,000  in  July,  1861,  payable  in  three  years, 
was  compelled  by  this  law  to  accept  at  maturity,  as  a  full  dis- 
charge of  the  debt,  an  amount  of  currency  equal  in  value  to 
$350  of  the  money  he  loaned.  Private  indebtedness  was  every- 
where cancelled.  Rising  prices  increased  the  profits  of  business ; 
but  this  prosperity  was  caused  by  the  great  demand  for  pro- 
ducts, and  not  by  the  abundance  of  paper  money.  As  a  means 
of  transacting  the  vast  business  of  the  country,  a  great  volume 
of  currency  was  indispensable;  and  its  importance  cannot  be 
well  overestimated.  But  let  us  not  be  led  into  the  fatal  error 
of  supposing  that  paper  money  created  the  business  or  pro- 
duced the  wealth.  As  well  might  it  be  alleged  that  our  rivers 
and  canals  produce  the  grain  which  they  float  to  market.  Like 
currency,  the  channels  of  commerce  stimulate  production,  but 
cannot  nullify  the  inexorable  law  of  demand  and  supply. 

Mr.  Chairman,  I  have  endeavored  to  trace  the  progress  of 
our  industrial  revolution  in  passing  from  peace  to  war.  In 
returning  from  war  to  peace  all  the  conditions  were  reversed. 
At  once  the  government  ceased  to  be  an  all-devouring  con- 
sumer. Nearly  two  million  able-bodied  men  were  discharged 
from  the  army  and  navy,  and  enrolled  in  the  ranks  of  the  pro- 
ducers. The  expenditures  of  the  government,  which  for  the 
fiscal  year  ending  June  30,  1865,  amounted  to  $1,290,000,000, 


were  reduced  to  $520,cxx),cxx)  in  1866,  to  $346,000,000  in  1867; 
and,  if  the  retrenchment  measures  recommended  by  the  Special 
Commissioner  of  the  Revenue,  be  adopted,  another  year  will 
bring  them  below  $300,000,000.  Thus  during  the  first  year 
after  the  war  the  demands  of  the  Federal  government  as  a 
consumer  decreased  sixty  per  cent;  and  in  the  second  year 
the  decrease  had  reached  seventy-four  per  cent,  with  a  fair 
prospect  of  a  still  further  reduction. 

The  recoil  of  this  sudden  change  would  have  produced  great 
financial  disaster  in  1866,  but  for  the  fact  that  there  was  still 
open  to  industry  the  work  of  replacing  the  wasted  reserves  of 
supply,  which  in  all  countries  in  a  healthy  state  of  business  are 
estimated  to  be  sufficient  for  two  years.  During  1866,  the  fall 
in  price  of  all  articles  of  industry  amounted  to  an  average  of 
ten  per  cent.  One  year  ago  a  table  was  prepared  at  my  request 
by  Mr.  Edward  Young,  in  the  office  of  the  Special  Commis- 
sioner of  the  Revenue,  exhibiting  a  comparison  of  wholesale 
prices  at  New  York  in  December,  1865,  and  December,  1866. 
It  shows  that  in  ten  leading  articles  of  provisions  there  was  an 
average  decline  of  twenty-two  per  cent,  though  beef,  together 
with  flour  and  other  breadstuffs,  remained  nearly  stationary. 
On  cotton  and  woollen  goods,  boots,  shoes,  and  clothing,  the  de- 
cline was  thirty  per  cent.  On  the  products  of  manufacture  and 
mining,  including  coal,  cordage,  iron,  lumber,  naval  stores,  oils, 
tallow,  tin,  and  wool,  the  decline  was  twenty-five  per  cent.  The 
average  decline  on  all  commodities  was  at  least  ten  per  cent. 
According  to  the  estimates  of  the  Special  Commissioner  of  the 
Revenue  in  his  late  report,  the  average  decline  during  1867  has 
amounted  to  at  least  ten  per  cent  more.  During  the  past  two 
years,  Congress  has  provided  by  law  for  reducing  internal  taxa- 
tion $100,000,000;  and  the  act  passed  a  few  weeks  ago  has 
reduced  the  tax  on  manufactures  by  the  amount  of  $64,000,000 
per  annum.  The  repeal  of  the  cotton  tax  will  make  a  further 
reduction  of  $20,000,000.  State  and  municipal  taxation  and 
expenditures  have  also  been  greatly  reduced.  The  work  of 
replacing  these  reserves  delayed  the  shock  and  distributed  its 
effects,  but  could  not  avert  the  inevitable  result.  During  the 
past  two  years,  one  by  one,  the  various  departments  of  indus- 
try produced  a  supply  equal  to  the  demand.  Then  followed  a 
glutted  market,  a  fall  in  prices,  and  a  stagnation  of  business  by 
which  thousands  of  laborers  were  thrown  out  of  employment. 


If  to  this  it  be  added  that  the  famine  in  Europe  and  the 
viuMi^Kt  in  many  of  the  s^cultural  States  of  the  Union  have 
kv|><  Uic  price  of  provisions  from  falling  as  other  commodities 
haY«  £adkii>  we  shall  have  a  sufficient  explanation  of  the  stag- 
OA^iott  of  business  and  the  unusual  distress  among  our  people. 

Thi^  industrial  revolution  has  been  governed  by  laws  beyond 
|hc  reach  of  Congress.  No  legislation  could  have  arrested  it 
4t  ;iU)y  stage  of  its  progress.  The  most  that  could  possibly  be 
J^.>1K''  by  Congress  was  to  take  advantage  of  the  prosperity  it 
vHN*aoncd  to  raise  a  revenue  for  the  support  of  the  government, 
4IkI  to  nnitigate  the  severity  of  its  subsequent  pressure,  by 
ivxlucing  the  vast  machinery  of  war  to  the  lowest  scale  possible. 
Manifestly,  nothing  can  be  more  absurd  than  to  suppose  that 
^hv^  abundance  of  currency  produced  the  prosperity  of  1863, 
li^%  and  1865,  or  that  the  want  of  it  is  the  cause  of  our 
^uvs&ont  stagnation. 

In  onler  to  reach  a  satisfactory  understanding  of  th6  currency 
question,  it  is  necessary  to  consider  somewhat  fully  the  nature 
^nsl  functions  of  money,  or  any  substitute  for  it. 

The  theory  of  money  which  formed  the  basis  of  the  "  mer- 
cantile system  "  of  the  seventeenth  and  eighteenth  centuries  has 
Uvn  rejected  by  all  leading  financiers  and  political  economists 
\\\x  the  last  seventy-five  years.  That  theory  asserted  that 
uuMU*y  is  wealth ;  that  the  great  object  of  every  nation  should 
tu*  to  increase  its  amount  of  gold  and  silver ;  that  this  was  a 
slireet  increase  of  national  wealth.  It  is  now  held  as  an  indis- 
|MitabIe  truth,  that  money  is  an  instrument  of  trade,  and  pcr- 
|\nins  but  two  functions.  It  is  a  measure  of  value  and  a  medium 
\if  exchange. 

In  cases  of  simple  barter,  where  no  money  is  used,  we  esti- 
nuite  the  relative  values  of  the  commodities  to  be  exchanged 
in  dollars  and  cents,  it  being  our  only  universal  measure  of 
value.  As  a  medium  of  exchange,  money  is  to  all  business 
transactions  what  ships  are  to  the  transportation  of  merchandise. 
If  a  hundred  vessels  of  a  given  tonnage  are  just  sufficient  to 
carry  all  the  commodities  between  two  ports,  any  increase  of 
the  number  of  vessels  will  correspondingly  decrease  the  value 
of  each  as  an  instrument  of  commerce ;  any  decrease  below  one 
hundred  will  correspondingly  increase  the  value  of  each.  If  the 
number  be  doubled,  each  will  carry  but  half  its  usual  freight, 
will  be  worth  but  half  its  former  value  for  that  trade.     There  is 



so  much  work  to  be  done,  and  no  more.  A  hundred  vessels  can 
do  it  all.  A  thousand  can  do  no  more  than  all.  The  functions 
of  money  as  a  medium  of  exchange,  though  more  complicated 
in  their  application,  are  precisely  the  same  in  principle  as  the 
functions  of  the  vessels  in  the  case  I  have  supposed. 

If  we  could  ascertain  the  total  value  of  all  the  exchanges 
effected  in  this  country  by  means  of  money  in  any  year,  and 
could  ascertain  how  many  dollars*  worth  of  such  exchanges  can 
be  effected  in  a  year  by  one  dollar  in  money,  we  should  know 
how  much  money  the  country  needed  for  the  business  transac- 
tions of  that  year.  Any  decrease  below  that  amount  will  cor- 
respondingly increase  the  value  of  each  dollar  as  an  instrument 
of  exchange.  Any  increase  above  that  amount  will  corre- 
spondingly decrease  the  value  of  each  dollar.  If  that  amount 
be  doubled,  each  dollar  of  the  whole  mass  will  perform  but  half 
the  amount  of  business  it  did  before ;  will  be  worth  but  half  its 
former  value  as  a  medium  of  exchange.*  Recurring  to  our  illus- 
tration :  if,  instead  of  sailing-vessels,  steam-vessels  were  substi- 
tuted, a  much  smaller  tonnage  would  be  required ;  so,  if  it  were 
found  that  $500,000,000  of  paper,  each  worth  seventy  cents  in 
gold,  were  sufficient  for  the  business  of  the  country,  it  is  equally 
evident  that  $350,000,000  of  gold  substituted  for  the  paper 
would  perform  precisely  the  same  amount  of  business. 

It  should  be  remembered,  also,  that  any  improvement  in  the 
mode  of  transacting  business,  by  which  the  actual  use  of  money 
is  in  part  dispensed  with,  reduces  the  total  amount  needed  by 
the  country.  How  much  has  been  accomplished  in  this  direc- 
tion by  recent  improvements  in  banking,  may  be  seen  in  the 
operations  of  the  clearing-houses  in  our  great  cities.  The  rec- 
ords of  the  New  York  clearing-house  show  that  from  October 
II,  1853,  the  date  of  its  establishment,  to  October  11,  1867, 
the  exchanges  amounted  to  nearly  $180,000,000,000;  to  effect 
which,  less  than  $8,000,000,000  of  money  were  used ;  an  aver- 
age of  about  four  per  cent;  that  is,  exchanges  were  made  to 
the  amount  of  $100,000,000  by  the  payment  of  $4,000,000  of 
money.  It  is  also  a  settled  principle,  that  all  deposits  in  banks 
drawn  upon  by  checks  and  drafts  really  serve  the  purpose  of 

The  amount  of  currency  needed  in  the  country  depends,  as 
we  have  seen,  upon  the  amount  of  business  transacted  by  means 
of  money.     The  amount   of  business,    however,    is   varied    by 

294  '^^^   CURRENCY. 

many  causes  which  are  irregular  and  uncertain  in  their  opera- 
tion. An  Indian  war,  deficient  or  abundant  harvests,  an  over- 
flow of  the  cotton  lands  of  the  South,  a  bread  famine  or  a  war 
in  Europe,  and  a  score  of  such  causes  entirely  beyond  the  reach 
of  legislation,  may  make  money  deficient  this  year  and  abun- 
dant next.  The  needed  amount  varies,  also,  from  month  to 
month  in  the  same  year.  More  money  is  required  in  the  au- 
tumn, when  the  vast  products  of  agriculture  are  being  moved 
to  market,  than  when  the  great  army  of  laborers  are  in  winter 
quarters,  awaiting  the  seedtime. 

When  the  money  of  the  country  is  gold  and  silver,  it  adapts 
itself  to  the  fluctuations  of  business  without  the  aid  of  legisla- 
tion. If,  at  any  time,  we  have  more  than  is  needed,  the  surplus 
flows  off  to  other  countries  through  the  channels  of  international 
commerce.  If  less,  the  deficiency  is  supplied  through  the  same 
channels.  Thus  the  monetary  equilibrium  is  maintained.  So 
immense  is  the  trade  of  the  world,  that  the  golden  streams  pour- 
ing from  California  and  Australia  into  the  specie  circulation  are 
soon  absorbed  in  the  great  mass  and  equalized  throughout  the 
world,  as  the  waters  of  all  the  rivers  are  spread  upon  the  sur- 
face of  all  the  seas.  Not  so,  however,  with  an  inconvertible 
paper  currency.  Excepting  the  specie  used  in  payment  of  cus- 
toms and  the  interest  on  our  public  debt,  we  are  cut  off  from 
the  money  currents  of  the  world.  Our  currency  resembles 
rather  the  waters  of  an  artificial  lake,  which  lie  in  stagnation  or 
rise  to  full  banks  at  the  caprice  of  the  gate-keeper.  Gold  and 
silver  abhor  depreciated  paper  money,  and  will  not  keep  com- 
pany with  it.  If  our  currency  be  more  abundant  than  business 
demands,  not  a  dollar  of  it  can  go  abroad ;  if  deficient,  not  a 
dollar  of  gold  will  come  in  to  supply  the  lack.  There  is  no 
legislature  on  earth  wise  enough  to  adjust  such  a  currency  to 
the  wants  of  the  country. 

Let  us  examine  more  minutely  the  effect  of  such  a  currency 
upon  prices.  Suppose  that  the  business  transactions  of  the 
country  at  the  present  time  require  $350,000,000  in  gold.  It 
is  manifest  that  if  there  are  just  $350,000,000  of  legal-tender 
notes,  and  no  other  money  in  the  country,  each  dollar  will  per- 
form the  full  functions  of  a  gold  dollar,  so  far  as  the  work  of 
exchange  is  concerned.  Now,  business  remaining  the  same,  let 
$350,000,000  more  of  the  same  kind  of  notes  be  pressed  into 
circulation.     The  whole  volume,  as  thus  increased,  can  do  no 


more  than  all  the  business.  Each  dollar  will  accomplish  just 
half  the  work  that  a  dollar  did  before  the  increase ;  but  as  the 
nominal  dollar  is  fixed  by  law,  the  effect  is  shown  in  prices  be- 
ing doubled.  It  requires  two  of  these  dollars  to  make  the  same 
purchase  that  one  dollar  made  before  the  increase.  It  would 
require  some  time  for  the  business  of  the  country  to  adjust  itself 
to  the  new  conditions,  and  great  derangement  of  values  would 
ensue;  but  the  result  would  at  last  be  reached  in  all  transac- 
tions which  are  controlled  by  the  law  of  demand  and  supply. 

No  such  change  of  values  can  occur  without  cost  Somebody 
must  pay  for  it.  Who  pays  in  this  case?  We  have  seen  that 
doubling  the  currency  finally  results  in  reducing  the  purchasing 
power  of  each  dollar  one  half;  hence  every  man  who  held  a 
legal-tender  note  at  the  time  of  the  increase,  and  continued  to 
hold  it  till  the  full  effect  of  the  increase  was  produced,  suffered 
a  loss  of  fifty  per  cent  of  its  value ;  in  other  words,  he  paid  a 
tax  to  the  amount  of  half  of  all  the  currency  in  his  possession. 
This  new  issue,  therefore,  by  depreciating  the  value  of  all  the 
currency,  cost  the  holders  of  the  old  issue  $i75,ooo,cxx);  and  if 
the  new  notes  were  received  at  their  nominal  value  at  the  date 
of  issue,  their  holders  paid  a  tax  of  $175,000,000  more.  No 
more  unequal  or  unjust  mode  of  taxation  could  possibly  be  de- 
vised. It  would  be  tolerated  only  by  being  so  involved  in  the 
transactions  of  business  as  to  be  concealed  from  observation ; 
but  it  would  be  no  less  real  because  hidden. 

But  some  one  may  say,  "  This  depreciation  would  fall  upon 
capitalists  and  rich  men  who  are  able  to  bear  it."  If  this 
were  true,  it  would  be  no  less  unjust.  But,  unfortunately,  the 
capitalists  would  suffer  less  than  any  other  class.  The  new  issue 
would  be  paid  in  the  first  place  in  large  amounts  to  the  creditors 
of  the  government;  it  would  pass  from  their  hands  before  the 
depreciation  had  taken  full  effect,  and,  passing  down  step  by 
step  through  the  ranks  of  middle-men,  the  dead  weight  would 
fall  at  last  upon  the  laboring  classes  in  the  increased  price  of  all 
the  necessaries  of  life.  It  is  well  known  that,  in  a  general  rise 
of  prices,  wages  are  among  the  last  to  rise.  This  principle  was 
illustrated  in  the  report  of  the  Special  Commissioner  of  the 
Revenue  for  the  year  i866.  It  is  there  shown  that  from  the 
beginning  of  the  war  to  the  end  of  1866  the  average  price  of  all 
commodities  had  risen  ninety  per  cent.  Wages,  however,  had 
risen  but  sixty  per  cent.     A  day's  labor  would  purchase  but  two 


thirds  as  much  of  the  necessaries  of  life  as  it  did  before.  The 
wrong  is  therefore  inflicted  on  the  laborer  long  before  his  in- 
come can  be  adjusted  to  his  increased  expenses.  It  was  in  view 
of  this  truth  that  Daniel  Webster  said  in  one  of  his  ablest 
speeches :  "  Of  all  the  contrivances  for  cheating  the  laboring 
classes  of  mankind,  none  has  been  more  effectual  than  that 
which  deludes  them  with  paper  money.  This  is  the  most  effect- 
ual of  inventions  to  fertilize  the  rich  man's  field  by  the  sweat  of 
the  poor  man's  brow.  Ordinary  tyranny,  oppression,  excessive 
taxation,  —  these  bear  lightly  on  the  happiness  of  the  mass  of 
the  community,  compared  with  a  fraudulent  currency  and  the 
robberies  committed  by  depreciated  paper."  ^ 

The  fraud  committed  and  the  burdens  imposed  upon  the 
people,  in  the  case  we  have  supposed,  would  be  less  intolerable 
if  all  business  transactions  could  be  really  adjusted  to  the  new 
conditions;  but  even  this  is  impossible.  All  debts  would  be 
cancelled,  all  contracts  fulfilled,  by  payment  in  these  notes, — 
not  at  their  real  value,  but  for  their  face.  All  salaries  fixed  by 
law,  the  pay  of  every  soldier  in  the  army,  of  every  sailor  in  the 
navy,  and  all  pensions  and  bounties,  would  be  reduced  to  half 
their  former  value.  In  these  cases  the  effect  is  only  injurious. 
Let  it  never  be  forgotten  that  every  depreciation  of  our  cur- 
rency results  in  robbing  the  one  hundred  and  eighty  thousand 
pensioners,  maimed  heroes,  crushed  and  bereaved  widows,  and 
homeless  orphans,  who  sit  helpless  at  our  feet.  And  who  would 
be  benefited  by  this  policy?  A  pretence  of  apology  might  be 
offered  for  it  if  the  government  could  save  what  the  people  lose. 
But  the  system  lacks  the  support  of  even  that  selfish  and  im- 
moral consideration.  The  depreciation  caused  by  the  over-issue 
in  the  case  wc  have  supposed,  compels  the  government  to  pay 
just  that  per  cent  more  on  all  the  contracts  it  makes,  on  all  the 
loans  it  negotiates,  on  all  the  supplies  it  purchases;  and  to 
crown  all,  it  must  at  last  redeem  all  its  legal-tender  notes  in  gold 
coin,  dollar  for  dollar.  And  yet  the  advocates  of  repudiation 
have  been  bold  enough  to  deny  this ! 

I  have  thus  far  considered  the  influence  of  a  redundant  paper 
currency  on  the  country  when  its  trade  and  industry  are  in  a 
healthy  and  normal  state.  I  now  call  attention  to  its  effect  in 
producing  an  unhealthy  expansion  of  business,  in  stimulating 
speculation  and  extravagance,  and  in  laying  the  sure  foundation 

1  Works.  Vol.  III.  p.  395. 


of  commercial  revulsion  and  wide-spread  ruin.  This  principle 
is  too  well  understood  to  require  any  elaboration  here.  The 
history  of  all  modern  nations  is  full  of  examples.  One  of  the 
ablest  American  writers  on  banks  and  banking,  Mr.  Gouge,  thus 
sums  up  the  result  of  his  researches:  "The  history  of  all  our 
bank  pressures  and  panics  has  been  the  same,  in  1825,  in  1837, 
and  in  1 843  ;  and  the  cause  is  given  in  these  two  simple  words, 
universal  expansion."  And  such  is  the  testimony  of  all  the 
highest  authorities. 

There  still  remains  to  be  considered  the  effect  of  depreciated 
currency  on  our  trade  with  other  nations.  By  raising  prices  at 
home  higher  than  they  are  abroad,  imports  are  largely  increased 
beyond  the  exports ;  our  coin  goes  abroad,  or,  what  is  far  worse 
for  us,  our  bonds,  which  have  also  suffered  depreciation,  go 
abroad,  and  are  purchased  by  foreigners  at  seventy  cents  on  the 
dollar.  During  the  whole  period  of  high  prices  occasioned  by 
the  war,  gold  and  bonds  have  been  steadily  going  abroad,  not- 
withstanding our  tariff  duties,  which  average  nearly  fifty  per  cent 
ad  valorem.  More  than  five  hundred  million  dollars  of  our  bonds 
are  now  held  in  Europe,  ready  to  be  thrown  back  upon  us  when 
any  war  or  other  sufficient  disturbance  shall  occur.  No  tariff 
rates  short  of  actual  prohibition  can  prevent  this  outflow  of  gold 
while  our  currency  is  thus  depreciated.  During  these  years,  also, 
our  merchant  marine  steadily  decreased,  and  our  shipbuilding 
interests  were  nearly  ruined.  Our  tonnage  engaged  in  foreign 
trade,  which  amounted  in  1859-60  to  more  than  two  and  a  half 
million  tons,  had  fallen  in  1865-66  to  less  than  one  and  a  half 
millions,  a  decrease  of  more  than  fifty  per  cent ;  and  prices  of 
labor  and  material  are  still  too  hfgh  to  enable  our  shipwrights 
to  compete  with  foreign  builders. 

From  the  facts  already  exhibited  in  reference  to  our  industrial 
revolution,  and  from  the  foregoing  analysis  of  the  nature  and 
functions  of  currency,  it  is  manifest,  — 

1.  That  the  remarkable  prosperity  of  all  industrial  enter- 
prise during  the  war  was  not  caused  by  the  abundance  of  cur- 
rency, but  by  the  unparalleled  demand  for  every  product  of 

2.  That  the  great  depression  of  business,  the  stagnation  of 
trade,  the  hard  times  which  have  prevailed  during  the  past 
year,  and  which  still  prevail,  have  not  been  caused  by  an  insuffi- 
cient amount  of  currency,  but  mainly  by  the  great  falling  off  of 



the  demand  for  all  the  products  of  labor  compared  with  the 
increased  supply  since  the  return  from  war  to  peace. 

I  should  be  satisfied  to  rest  on  these  propositions  without 
further  argument,  were  it  not  that  the  declaration  is  so  often  and 
so  confidently  made  by  members  of  this  House,  that  there  is  not 
only  no  excess  of  currency,  but  that  there  is  not  enough  for  the 
business  of  the  country.  I  subjoin  a  table,  carefully  made  up 
from  the  official  records,  showing  the  amount  of  paper  money 
in  the  United  States  at  the  beginning  of  each  year  from  1834  to 
1868,  inclusive.     The  fractions  of  millions  are  omitted. 





1834  .  . 


1843  • 

•   59 

1852  . 

.   150 

1861   . 


183s  .  • 


1844  . 

•   75 

1853  . 


1862  . 

.   218 

1836  .  . 


1845  . 

•   90 

1854  . 


1863   .  . 


1837  .  . 

-  149 

1846  . 

.  105 

1855  . 

.   187 

1864  . 

.   636 

1838  . 

.  116 

1847  ■ 

.  106 

1856  . 

.   196 

1865  . 


1839  . 

•  '35 

1848  . 

.  129 

1857  . 

.   215 

1866  . 

.  919 

1840  .  . 

.  107 

1849  • 

.  115 

1858  . 

•  '35 

1867   . 

.  852 

I84I  . 

.  107 

1850  . 

•  13' 

1859  .  . 


1868  . 


1842  . 

.   84 

1851  . 

•  '55 

i860  .  . 


To  obtain  a  full  exhibit  of  the  circulating  medium  of  the 
country  for  these  years,  it  would  be  necessary  to  add  to  the 
above  the  amount  of  coin  in  circulation  each  year.  This  amount 
cannot  be  ascertained  with  accuracy ;  but  it  is  the  opinion  of 
those  best  qualified  to  judge  that  there  was  about  $200,000,000 
of  gold  and  silver  coin  in  the  United  States  at  the  beginning 
of  the  rebellion.  It  is  officially  known  that  the  amount  held 
by  the  banks  from  i860  to  1863  inclusive  averaged  about 
$97,000,000.  Including  bank  reserves,  the  total  circulation  of 
coin  and  paper  never  exceeded  $400,000,000  before  the  war. 
Excluding  the  bank  reserves,  the  amount  was  never  much  above 
$300,000,000.  During  the  twenty-six  years  preceding  the  war, 
the  average  bank  circulation  was  less  than  $139,000,000. 

It  is  estimated  that  the  amount  of  coin  now  in  the  United 
States  is  not  less  than  $250,000,000.  When  it  is  remembered 
that  there  are  now  $106,000,000  of  coin  in  the  Treasury,  that 
customs  duties  and  interest  on  the  public  debt  are  paid  in  coin 
alone,  and  that  the  currency  of  the  States  and  Territories  of  the 
Pacific  coast  is  wholly  metallic,  it  will  be  seen  that  a  large  sum 
of  gold  and  silver  must  be  added  to  the  volume  of  paper  cur- 
rency in  order  to  ascertain  the  whole  amount  of  our  circula- 
tion.    It  cannot   be   successfully  controverted   that   the   gold, 


silver,  and  paper  used  as  money  in  this  country  at  this  time 
amount  to  $i,ooo,cxx),cxx).  If  we  subtract  from  this  amount  our 
bank  reserves,  —  which  amounted  on  the  ist  of  January  last  to 
$162,500,000,  and  also  the  cash  in  the  national  treasury,  which 
at  that  time  amounted  to  $134,000,000,  —  we  still  have  left  in 
active  circulation  more  than  seven  hundred  million  dollars. 

It  rests  with  those  who  assert  that  our  present  amount  of 
currency  is  insufficient,  to  show  that  one  hundred  and  fifty  per 
cent  more  currency  is  now  needed  for  the  business  of  the  coun- 
try than  was  needed  in  i860.  To  escape  this  difficulty,  it  has 
been  asserted  by  some  honorable  members  that  the  country 
never  had  currency  enough,  and  that  credit  was  substituted 
before  the  war  to  supply  the  lack  of  money.  It  is  a  perfect 
answer  to  this  that  in  many  of  the  States  a  system  of  free  bank- 
ing prevailed ;  and  such  banks  pushed  into  circulation  all  the 
money  they  could  find  a  market  for. 

The  table  I  have  submitted  shows  how  perfect  an  index  the 
currency  is  of  the  healthy  or  unhealthy  condition  of  business, 
and  that  every  great  financial  crisis  for  the  period  covered  by 
the  table  has  been  preceded  by  a  great  increase  and  followed  by 
a  great  and  sudden  decrease  in  the  volume  of  paper  money. 
The  rise  and  fall  of  mercury  in  the  barometer  is  not  more  surely 
indicative  of  an  atmospheric  storm  than  a  sudden  increase  or 
decrease  of  currency  is  indicative  of  financial  disaster.  Within 
the  period  covered  by  the  table  there  were  four  financial  and 
commercial  crises  in  this  country.  They  occurred  in  1837, 
1841,  1854,  and  1857.  Now  observe  the  change  in  the  volume 
of  paper  currency  for  those  years. 

On  the  1st  day  of  January,  1837,  ^^  amount  had  risen  to 
$149,000,000,  an  increase  of  nearly  fifty  per  cent  in  three  years.